"I’ll go to jail for my dog"

A low income family in New Zealand took their puppy, who had been hit by a car, to the local Vet. The Vet diagnosed a broken leg and gave the family a quote on repair as well as a less expensive option – amputation. Since the family could afford neither cost all at once, they offered to pay a small amount each week but the Vet declined. The Vet then refused to return the puppy saying he needed to be killed if they weren’t able to pay for treatment up front.

The 19 year old son could not allow his dog to be killed so he stole the puppy from the clinic. New Zealand’s SPCA threatened him with prosecution for cruelty but he decided he’d rather go to jail than have his dog killed.

I think we can all understand this feeling. No one wants to see a dog suffer and this puppy probably was in a good deal of pain. No one wants to kill a dog who is suffering from a treatable injury. And no one expects Vets to give away services because if they did, how could they afford to keep their doors open? On the other hand, the Vet was never asked to give away services – he was asked if he could allow a lengthy payment plan.

Any guesses as to how this situation was resolved? After the story made the news, the community rallied to save the dog and donations came pouring in. I am reminded, once again, that we, including our neighbors around the bend in New Zealand, are a humane society of pet lovers. We want to save pets, not kill them. A little less judgment and a little more understanding goes a long way toward helping us achieve that goal.

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