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Old 07/14/10, 09:43 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Willamette Valley (Scio), Oregon
Posts: 251
the vet won't give me my dog back... what do i do?

It can't really be legal to keep a dog can it? It's not nice that's for sure. I've been so messed up over this I don't know what to do.

My dog got in an accident yesterday. He tried diving though a piece of fencing he couldn't fit through and speared himself with a piece of heave gauge wire. The wire went in at his waist and out his hip and the poor dog was hung up but wiggled his way off of it which left a gaping 10" hole under his skin. There's no way I could treat the wound myself so I took him to the vet. He had to have drain tubes put in under his skin and had everything flushed out real good. Tetanus shots and antibiotics. Not cheap but very necessary.

This is a dog I've had longer than my oldest kid. I adopted him when I got depressed about not being able to get pregnant after 1 1/2 years of marriage and needed to take my mind off of trying to have a baby. 5 weeks after I got him I got pregnant with my oldest. I blame the dog for taking my mind off my depression and giving me something else to think about. He's been a guardian and a friend since April 2001. He was a natural babysitter for my kids, he kept me from being down in the dumps on bad days. He saw me through my divorce. I gave up my hunting rifle and my car so I could keep the dog. He means the world to me.

Today I was told if I couldn't come up with the bill in full or give them collateral they wouldn't give me my dog back. My poor dog who's never been away from home and is in pain is stuck in a small cage in the back of the vet's office. They will add an extra fee for keeping him another night. Which I won't be able to pay and then they'll keep him another day. I've been beside myself in grief. I can't stop crying thinking about not getting my dog back.

It can't be right. Even if he didn't have years of sentimental value to him a person should be able to get adequate emergency care for their animal without worrying if they'll ever see him again. Right? Am I so out of line to think they're being unreasonable?

I don't know what to do. An attorney would cost so much more. I had every intention of paying her back little by little. I figured I'd spend the next couple of months giving the vet every last dime just to pay her back, but I never in the world thought I'd lose my dog because I wanted him treated after an accident.

I'm not sure why I'm posting here. Reaching out for understanding maybe. I guess I'm just lost. I'm a single mom trying to make a living with my little farm and stay out of everyones way. I've never been a cheater or criminal (I did get a ticket when I forgot to put on my seatbelt once). It just doesn't seem right.

Thank you for letting me cry about my problem. I can't seem to stop crying. I think about how impossible it's going to be to come up with that much money and then they're going to add to the bill every night they keep him. It seems hopeless. It can't be right. Please go easy with the responses. It's been one helluva 24hrs and it's not close to over yet.

This is one of those times I wish I had a man around to push until he got what was right. I'm so exhausted. I know I'm grasping at lose ends but I just don't know what to do.
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Old 07/14/10, 09:47 PM
Kazahleenah's Avatar
Disgruntled citizen
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Northeast Michigan zone 4b
Posts: 4,458
Not sure of the laws in Oregon, but how much is the bill?
I'm so busy, I don't know if I've found a rope or lost my horse.
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Old 07/14/10, 09:48 PM
Minelson's Avatar  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 24,108
I would call the police. hugs to you..
Teach only Love...for that is what You are
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Old 07/14/10, 09:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 7,799
The vet won't accept payments? Lots of procedures are expensive and people can't pay up front. If he's being unreasonable, tell him you'll file with the Better Business Bureau, the American Veterinary Medical Association and your state's Inspector General. If the vet is totally not willing to budge, can you use a credit card?

It's stressing your dog too, not being with you, and that's cruel. And when this is over, I'd never use that vet again. Obviously he's just out for the money.
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Old 07/14/10, 10:00 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 188
That is horrible!

Is it an ER vet? Had to take my pooch to the emergency vet a couple of years ago, and they wouldn't even treat him until we put up a credit card, which we did. Then paid it off with our tax refund.

I would think any decent vet would be more concerned about your pet's well being though, and work out a payment schedule.

This makes me so mad! Will they let you visit your dog?
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Old 07/14/10, 10:00 PM
Ravenlost's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: MS
Posts: 24,572
I agree, I'd never use that vet again! Do yu have anything you could sell quickly to raise the money? Jewelry/TV, etc. you could pawn?

I've been in your situation before (single mom pinching pennies) but have never had a vet hold my pet hostage! I've never had one refuse to accept payments either.
I'm running so far behind I thought I was first!
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Old 07/14/10, 10:15 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 5,522
I'd call the police too.

Police won't help, call your county commissioner, and be sure to tell the vet and the police that you are going to the county commissioner with the problem.

That has done wonders for me before. Good luck.
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Old 07/14/10, 10:16 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: SE Georgia
Posts: 1,465
Did you explain your financial situation before you ok'ed the treatment? Not to sound cruel, but I have a couple friends who are vets. They don't make as much money as people think; there are a lot of overheard expenses. Animal hospitals have to make money, or they don't make it. There are so many people who OK treatment when they know before hand that they can't pay. It’s not like a people hospital where they have to treat you by law. They are simply holding on to the animal to ensure payment. If you make arrangements before treatment for payments, that is one thing, but to wait until after surgery along with all the assorted costs, and then try and make a payment arrangement is not fair to the vet. They have to make a living like the rest of us. Did they offer any alternatives before the treatment, such as putting the dog to sleep and did they also give you an estimate of the treatment charges. All vets I have been to have always done so before treatment. Sorry for your situation and hope everything works out.

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Old 07/14/10, 10:18 PM
Jokarva's Avatar  
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Cold Mtn, W NC
Posts: 4,289
My vet is having a terrible time with people not paying their bills, she's worrying over whether she'll have to close one of her two offices and lay off staff (I've known her for years, she's a friend as well). Times are tough for everyone, but I don't think my vet would hold a pet hostage...

That being said - there must be some way they'll accommodate you. They certainly don't want to keep your dog forever.

If they want collateral (and, imho, I think that's reasonable), as long as you're intending to pay them in full couldn't you give them something you don't need immediately - with the written understanding you get it back as soon as the bill is paid?

Also proves your credibility in case you need to use them again.

I hope it works out for you and your pup's home with you soon!

I'm not easy to live with, I know that it's true. You're no picnic either baby...

Don Henley
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Old 07/14/10, 10:18 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 67
The vet is lucky it isn't me that she tried this on because I'd go ballistic on their butts. I'm very protective of my pets and I don't tolerate anyone messing with them. Before I finished, they would be begging me to work something out!
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Old 07/14/10, 10:20 PM
Wags's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posts: 5,492
Did you actually talk to the vet or to the person in the front office? If you are using the vet in Scio then I am very surprised as they have been very good about working with me. If you used the emergency vet hospital in Albany then I'm not surprised at all.
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"The Constitution says to promote the general welfare, not to provide welfare!" ~ Lt. Col Allen West
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Old 07/14/10, 10:41 PM
wr wr is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 16,077
Contact your local media.
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Old 07/14/10, 10:56 PM
lasergrl's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Geauga County, Ohio
Posts: 1,656
This is standard procedure, not unheard of at all. however, they should have given you an estimate. I would make a stink about not getting an estimate. You can also look up online something called "care credit" . They should have offered this to you. If you make a big enough stink, they may let the dog be released. If after the initial fuss they still refuse you can make a police report and threaten to call the media.
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Old 07/14/10, 10:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: South Louisiana
Posts: 789
The vet is licensed in your state and regulated by guidelines. You need to know if the vet is meeting state standards by keeping your dog. Call the state licensing agency, often located at the state capitol. You have a computer, google and get the number. If you can not come up with the agency or number, call your local library, they have reference material and will help you with the phone number. Take notes when you talk to the state agency. Hopefully, the vet is breaking rules, if that is the case you are home free. Money is tight for a lot of people now, I am sure your vet is no exception. A sit down face to face about payment may do the trick. I would try to pull a little money together to make a first payment if you can schedule a meeting. From the vet's point of view, she is money out of pocket on drugs and supplies, those expenses will be her primary concern.
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Old 07/14/10, 10:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: PowderRiver County,MT.
Posts: 192
I agree with wr get the media involved this is a cruel thing this person who calls themself a vet is doing i worked in vet medicine for 12 years and we would never have done anything like this maybe get ahold of your local DVMA association and file complaint against the "doctor" also agree with the person who asked is this front office telling you this or the dr. actually said this as front office people soetimes thing they are goddesses and they really arent
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Old 07/14/10, 10:59 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Willamette Valley (Scio), Oregon
Posts: 251
I'd rather not mention the vet cause I don't want to do anything more than vent I guess. I did have every intention of paying the vet. I knew the procedures would be a lot but I've never stood anyone up before. If I'd had any idea they would have kept my dog I would have asked first for sure. I had no idea they could do that. I can understand wanting to get paid but to keep a persons dog? I thought we had made it clear that I was short on funds. She'd offered me other services along side of what had to be done and we came to the conclusion if they weren't needed than to avoid the bill. That accident would only have been life threatening if it'd been left unattended so that subject was never brought up. I do understand they need to make a living too but they might as well have kept my kid, what they're doing isn't right. It's not like a car that is in a garage right now. It's a dog. And tomorrow the bill will be more so how will keeping him do anything other than dig a hole so deep I have no way to get out of it? I wouldn't ever cheat anyone, but when something/someone you care about is hurt you don't stop to think about the cost you just want them better with as little pain and suffering as possible. Am I really being unreasonable to want my dog home? If I had a credit card I'd be happy to max it out for my dog. If I owned anything of value I would hand it over. But I don't. Unless they want one of my goats. The down side to this farming thing is the cashflow isn't as even as if I was working a 9-5 job. I don't get a paycheck every friday or on the first of every month that I can promise. I hate to promise a payment on a certain day because I have no way if I'm going to have it that day. I just give a little here and there as I get it because I know I'll get it, just takes a while for it to pile up.

I'm sure some of you know what I mean.

I just want my dog back. That's all. My head hurts I've been stressed out over it.

I think the worst thing is next time one of the animals gets hurt I'm going to have to wonder if I can afford to get it fixed or lose it until I can. No one should have to live with that kind of stress. Even poor people should be able to take their dogs to be fixed in an emergency. I'd give a family food in an emergency if needed and that's my business. It's not like I took my dog to a groomer and then didn't want to pay the bill. It was an emergency. One that I couldn't take care of alone. People should feel comfortable enough to be able to call on help in an emergency.
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Old 07/14/10, 11:03 PM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Hill Country, TX
Posts: 720
See if you can work off the bill. Times are hard right now. Make the offer anyway, if you're able. I'm pretty sure they aren't going to let your dog be in any pain, but I understand that you are very concerned with the bill adding up. You might contact legal aid in your area to see what you can do.
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Old 07/14/10, 11:04 PM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Willamette Valley (Scio), Oregon
Posts: 251
It was the actual doctor I talked too. I was there through the whole surgery. Took my dog out first thing to use the potty and held his head while they sedated him. I watched the whole procedure. And turned down when they asked if I wanted him to have a dental while he was on the table. I turned it down ofcourse. I knew the bill would be high.
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Old 07/14/10, 11:05 PM
Bearfootfarm's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Eastern North Carolina
Posts: 45,464
It sounds a lot like extortion to me.
He's holding the dog hostage, and also running up the bill

He should give you your dog, and if you don't pay him off he can take you to small claims court.
"To say you won’t respect the result of the election, that is a direct threat to our democracy.”
Hillary Clinton, 2016
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Old 07/14/10, 11:11 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,013
If you signed an estimate of fees and authorization to treat, you almost certainly signed an agreement to pay in full before the dog would be released to you. I haven't seen any vets who DIDN'T require that sort of thing in over 20 years (myself included). Because we are virtually guaranteed to never see a dime once the animal goes out the door ('cause vets are always the first to be ripped off when money is short), we are legally permitted to place a lien on our patients. That's how it is in CA and probably every other state, too.

Many years ago most vets would bill people for the balance due, but so many of them lost HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS over the years that they all stopped accepting promises to pay after sending pets home. Sad, I know. And inconvenient for those who authorize treament knowing they don't have the money for it, but it's the only way to make people PAY FOR SERVICES RENDERED most of the time.

I have been known to accept post-dated checks and promises to pay from REALLY good clients who I know to have a steady job, but even that is largely unnecessary these days with so many people having credit cards.

Veterinarians are not bankers and cannot lend to clients without bankrupting ourselves in the bargain. We do not have the resources to work without pay, not should we be expected to do so.
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