Woman calls for change after returning injured puppy ‘under false pretenses’

A couple from Victoria are fighting to get their puppy back after claiming to have been forced to give it up “under false pretenses”.

Lynn and Doug Macfarlane told NowMedia that on April 25, 2021, their puppy Murphy was injured after becoming entangled in his feet, resulting in a fall.

Lynn said he appeared to be fine, but to be safe, she and her husband took him to Victoria Central Veterinary Hospital. Unfortunately, the vet told them Murphy was not doing well and would need emergency surgery.

Lynn said they were told the cost of the treatment would be $ 10,000 to $ 20,000, which was “way beyond their means.” The couple planned to set up pet insurance and get Murphy vaccinated during their next vet appointment, which was reportedly a week ago.

They had the option of paying the fee, slaughtering the dog, or handing Murphy over to a donor.

The puppy was turned over to the Victoria Humane Society (VHS), however, Lynn said two days later she found out her puppy had not been operated on. Then she saw Murphy on the VHS Facebook page, who said the puppy was doing great with no complications and was now in foster care.

The Macfarlanes have a meeting with the animal hospital this week regarding the situation and say something needs to change within the veterinary industry.

“I went from sadness and guilt to anger,” Lynn said. “I feel that Murphy was taken from me, when we handed him over under false pretenses.”

“We have a complaint letter ready to send to the College to look into this matter. We have consulted with veterinarians, who agree that the procedures and protocols were not followed by the hospital, ”she added.

Lynn and Doug Macfarlane

Penny Stone, CEO of VHS, says Murphy’s owners have been put in a horrific position, but the animal hospital has gone out of its way to save the puppy.

Stone explained that people are “stuck” that the dog was not operated on, but said the owners only paid for blood tests and x-rays, not diagnoses.

Lynn said she paid for extensive testing in the amount of $ 1,300.

She said that even though the dog was not operated on, the costs of its care were still over $ 10,000.

VHS provided NowMedia with invoices showing various costs associated with treating the puppy, along with medical records and x-rays showing rib fractures, pleural effusion and other medical issues that were resolved.

Stone said the head of the veterinary association had reviewed the file and determined that there had been no deception and that the veterinary team had taken appropriate action.

“There was nothing that could have been changed in Murphy’s situation,” she added.

Now, the humanitarian company is taking legal and / or criminal prosecution over the threats Stone says he received.

In the meantime, the College of Veterinarians of BC (CVBC) told NowMedia that, at the owner’s request, the equipment was examined to determine whether or not there had been negligence.

“Based on a brief review of the medical records provided to me, I believe the puppy has received adequate care and the appropriate informed consent has been documented,” said a CVBC registrar.

They added that this was neither an investigation into the complaint, nor a full review, and that the CVBC does not have jurisdiction over property issues.

“We have no jurisdiction over animal shelters and rescue operations unless they provide veterinary services as defined in the Veterinarians Act,” the CVBC said.

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