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Friday, March 4, 2011

At Least You Won't Owe Me...

I wear several hats each work day: veterinarian, business owner, office manager, rescuer, animal control.  They all have their own weights that come with them, some heavier than others.  One of the most frustrating occurrences is one that seems to be routine.

Animals come to us as animal control in several ways.  Sometimes, it's a phone call alerting us to a dog on the run.  Sometimes, a concerned citizen picks up an animal and brings it to us.  Sometimes it is a phone call from the police.

We take the dogs in because that is what we do.  We hope to safely reunite the animal with its owner.  We hope that it will be a happy reunion, but often it is not.  Usually the dog is a stray and no one claims it, resulting in no happy reunion.  Occasionally, it is an owned dog, that an owner picks up at my office and more often than not, they are not happy.

I have had dog owners accuse me of ripping them off with impound fees.  I have been accused of stealing dogs to collect impound fees.  I have had people refuse to take their dog home due to repeated impounds, and the dogs were abandoned at my clinic.  I have had "friends" angered by the fact that I would dare to charge a "friend" for impounding their dog.

It is time for me to state my peace!

Dear Sir or Madame,

Your dog was running where it did not belong today.  There was enough concern about where your dog was, that it caused people to act out on your dog's behalf. 

Your behavior when you picked up your pet, whining about fees, yelling at my staff, angry with your dog, needs to be addressed.

If you prefer, we will leave your dog where he or she is next time, but let's consider the possible consequences...

When your dog returns home with a hit by car injury or fight wounds requiring hundreds of dollars in veterinary care, at least you won't owe me $25.

When it comes time to scrape your dog's carcass off the highway, at least you won't owe me $25. 

When a car swerves to avoid hitting your dog, and gets damaged going into the ditch, at least you won't owe me $25. 

When a car hits another car head on after your dog darts across the road, and a young family of 4 is rushed to the hospital, at least you won't owe me $25.

If I required your business services, expected or unexpected, I would not expect you to do it for free. 

Your dog ended up in my clinic because other people seem to care more about its welfare than you do. 

That is unfortunate for you, but even more unfortunate for your dog.

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Anonymous said...

Bless you! You are right on!

Tammy Hartwig said...

Well stated!! While this is a sad situation it is SO true and sadly, a growing reality. As a foster home, I've heard it all but as an owner of 6 dogs, I cannot imagine not looking for my cherished friends should one get loose and if one did, I would be MORE than happy to pay whatever fee necessary to get them back and would be very grateful to those who did care enough to make sure that he/she did end up somewhere where they were safe.

Thank you once again for bringing a growing problem to the public!