On June 24th, Cindy Hodges’ dog, Sadie, was seized by Roscommon County Animal Control because Hodges didn’t get surgery done on Sadie’s paw and they considered that to be abuse under Michigan animal law for failure to provide an animal with adequate care.
It brings up questions about the limitations of governmental interference regarding the care we choose for our pets. Plenty of pet owners who read this article have, I’m sure, been in a similar situation where their pet is injured or sick and they can’t afford a treatment – or might not even agree with a Veterinarian’s recommendation. My own cat, Ali, had cancer and it got worse at the beginning of this year. There was no way I could afford thousands of dollars for radiation. Because the cancer had spread to more than one area, the radiation was likely to be unsuccessful anyway. The Veterinarian agreed that the radiation most likely would not improve Ali’s quality of life – or extend it substantially. But what if the Vet said it might give her another year of life? And what if my County found out about the Vet’s recommendation and deemed my decision to be abuse or neglect? What criteria is the government using to decide what constitutes neglect and abuse?
And even more importantly, can our County government disregard the opinion of a pet owner’s Veterinarian and the pet’s treatment plan and move ahead with an abuse charge?
Our local governments shouldn’t be able to interfere in our pet’s treatment even when our Veterinarian might not agree with us. However, in Sadie’s case, Surry Veterinary Clinic and Hodges were working together in agreement with the treatment being done.
There are plenty of pet owners who do their best for their pets but might have limited funds due to being disabled or because of other circumstances. Are their pets going to be taken from them because they can’t afford an ACL surgery or ear drops? As a pet owner, we know our pets better than anyone. We know their behavioral and medical history, what kind of pain they are able to put up with, what kind of food they eat, their stress levels, their sedation history and more. They are a part of our family and WE own them and we make the decisions for their care. Sometimes it’s a medical decision. Sometimes it’s a financial decision. Sometimes it’s both. But it’s OUR decision. Continue reading