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Perks
06-08-2014, 10:45 PM
Pondering a story idea and am wondering about something. If a person came to a vet, looking to have a dog euthanized, but upon examination and interview, it's discovered that there's nothing more wrong with the dog than I-don't-want-it-anymore. No physical or behavioral issues, just that the owner wants the dog put down and is adamant against anyone else taking the dog.

Presumably the vet would refuse. Would that be the end of it? Is there an entity to report this too?

I used to run fish tanks, but have never taken an animal to the vet.

Dollywagon
06-08-2014, 11:09 PM
It may depend on which country you are in, but in the UK it used to be down to the discretion of the vet concerned. One vet I worked for would never do it, then another vet came and I took an immediate dislike (mild phrase) when he destroyed a pair of perfectly healthy whippets simply because the owner didn't want them anymore.

ShaunHorton
06-08-2014, 11:15 PM
There really isn't an organization to report it to, and what happens is up to the individual veterinarian. Some vets would go through with it according to the owner's wishes. Some will instead tell the owner, "Yes, we will do this." and then simply take the animal in and then call a local rescue organization such as the Humane Society to come in and pick up the animal as abandoned. Or the vet may simply tell the owner, "No. We won't do that." and ask them to leave.

Dollywagon
06-08-2014, 11:33 PM
Just as a quick point of interest; if a vet agrees to put down an animal then the owner has to sign a form. If the vet subsequently rehomes the animal and gets found out, then he gets struck off. May sound far fetched, but I know someone it happened to because the dog ran away and went back to its previous home...

and I'll tell you a funny to go with it.
I was an animal nurse and I took home a dog that was supposed to be destroyed. Admittedly it was done in error - one person thought another person had asked the owner if it could be rehomed as an alternative, but neither had.

Anyway a couple of years later, I was in a park and this man...well, I knew as soon as I saw his face. He passed me as I sat on a bench, then doubled back but by this time I was legging it but casually, but then he caught up with me and asked me outright where I'd got the dog from. I told him he'd belonged to my gran and I'd taken him on when she'd died. The funny thing was, the dog took no notice of him whatsoever. None! It was over 30 years ago now, so I guess it's safe to come clean;-)

King Neptune
06-08-2014, 11:53 PM
and I'll tell you a funny to go with it.
I was an animal nurse and I took home a dog that was supposed to be destroyed. Admittedly it was done in error - one person thought another person had asked the owner if it could be rehomed as an alternative, but neither had.

Anyway a couple of years later, I was in a park and this man...well, I knew as soon as I saw his face. He passed me as I sat on a bench, then doubled back but by this time I was legging it but casually, but then he caught up with me and asked me outright where I'd got the dog from. I told him he'd belonged to my gran and I'd taken him on when she'd died. The funny thing was, the dog took no notice of him whatsoever. None! It was over 30 years ago now, so I guess it's safe to come clean;-)

Smart dog. It probably knew exactly what was going on, and wanted to to do with the prior owner in any way.

melindamusil
06-09-2014, 12:02 AM
At least in the US, most vets have a working relationship with the local animal shelters and rescue groups. If someone one doesn't want the animal anymore, the vet can put them in touch with a rescue/support group to help them rehome the animal. (Of course, that is assuming the owner is willing to let the animal go to a new home...)

cornflake
06-09-2014, 12:04 AM
I'm not a vet or anything (I really wanted to be - until I realized I couldn't deal with stuff like this, heh), but I know there are at least two on AW, so hopefully one will come along with an actual answer for you.

I've heard it varies - there's a small, private rescue around here that had a lovely cat the guy told me had lived with a guy for like 9 years, until the guy moved in with a woman who wanted new furniture and thought the cat might scratch it, so they decided to just kill the cat, but the vet apparently was like 'oh, sure, perfectly reasonable,' and then called the rescue and handed the cat off. I don't know how ethical that is as to lying to a 'client' but seems ethical in the long run, as there apparently are vets who will do it.

veinglory
06-09-2014, 12:12 AM
In the US this is entirely at the discretion of the veterinarian. In theory they should make whatever decisions is in the best interests of the dog. In practice they do what they feel is most appropriate. This may include doing the convenience euthanasia, refusing to do it, referring, and/or offering other options like rehoming or asking them to defer the decision.

If they take the dog, pretend to euthanize, and do something else that is illegal (theft) because the dog is the owner's property. If the dog remains alive, they must relinquish it or have ownership legally severed by the courts.

Chumplet
06-09-2014, 12:28 AM
Here in Ontario, pet euthanasia through a vet is VERY expensive. If a vet took my money and turned around to rehome the animal, I'm sure he or she would be in very big trouble.

cornflake
06-09-2014, 12:44 AM
In the US this is entirely at the discretion of the veterinarian. In theory they should make whatever decisions is in the best interests of the dog. In practice they do what they feel is most appropriate. This may include doing the convenience euthanasia, refusing to do it, referring, and/or offering other options like rehoming or asking them to defer the decision.

If they take the dog, pretend to euthanize, and do something else that is illegal (theft) because the dog is the owner's property. If the dog remains alive, they must relinquish it or have ownership legally severed by the courts.

I don't know for sure, but I'd wager the vets who will lie about being willing to do it and then shuffle the animal out the back door would have tried reasoning with the people first as to rehoming or relinquishing and may know there's another vet or a high-kill shelter as the next stop.

I don't know what my vet would do, but I'd kind of hope, if she'd tried other options and feared for its safety, she'd lie like a rug to save a healthy animal from an asshole.

WeaselFire
06-09-2014, 01:40 AM
Presumably the vet would refuse. Would that be the end of it? Is there an entity to report this too?
You presume too much and there are no reports.

A vet may put down an animal for many reasons and, in a shelter that lacks space, a vet will euthanize perfectly healthy animals. Anyone that wants to volunteer at a shelter should first sit through a day with a euthanasia tech.

Plus, if a vet refused, the guy with the unwanted dog would drop it off on the side of the road, take it to a shelter, find another vet or kill it themselves.

Now, what do you need to have happen for your story?

Jeff

veinglory
06-09-2014, 01:45 AM
I don't know what my vet would do, but I'd kind of hope, if she'd tried other options and feared for its safety, she'd lie like a rug to save a healthy animal from an asshole.

All sorts of things happen, but periodically people get caught doing them and it is a huge problem for them. And if the dog ends up being abused, biting people etc... there is liability.

So technically it is not a legal option and they have to work with the owner to get the dog relinquished.

Bolero
06-09-2014, 02:02 AM
A vet may put down an animal for many reasons and, in a shelter that lacks space, a vet will euthanize perfectly healthy animals. Anyone that wants to volunteer at a shelter should first sit through a day with a euthanasia tech.


Yes. RSPCA does that in the UK.
Cats Protection League only euthanises sick animals (and has a lot of programmes to get people to get their cats neutered and offers free neutering quite often - as indeed does my local vet to people on lower income).



Interesting point earlier in the thread that taking money for the euthanisia and then not doing it is stealing. Wonder what the legal position would be if the vet said "oh no money needed" and didn't put the dog down.... Just one of those "I wonder" moments.

cornflake
06-09-2014, 02:12 AM
All sorts of things happen, but periodically people get caught doing them and it is a huge problem for them. And if the dog ends up being abused, biting people etc... there is liability.

So technically it is not a legal option and they have to work with the owner to get the dog relinquished.

Might be a cat, or a horse or a gecko, heh. I realize there could be liability - though I don't know what kinds. Assuming we're talking about an animal that itself never caused trouble (just because that'd be a whole other deal I think, depending on who had it and etc.) and it was just that the vet was found to have lied and not done what she'd said and rehomed or taken the animal herself, I don't know if it's like a criminal complaint, a tort level of trouble (if the person chose to go that far) or if it's a license-endangering deal or some combination thereof.

I still hope my vet would do something instead of go along with killing a healthy animal because its person was an asshole.

I also realize there are kill shelters. I would much prefer there weren't. There's a small furry beast in my house came from one. Education about spaying and neutering helps but ... too many people are not responsible or are flat-out evil (I don't think not spaying or neutering is evil - abusing is evil).


Yes. RSPCA does that in the UK.
Cats Protection League only euthanises sick animals (and has a lot of programmes to get people to get their cats neutered and offers free neutering quite often - as indeed does my local vet to people on lower income).

Interesting point earlier in the thread that taking money for the euthanisia and then not doing it is stealing. Wonder what the legal position would be if the vet said "oh no money needed" and didn't put the dog down.... Just one of those "I wonder" moments.

That is a good point; wonder what they'd do.

You reminded me - the high-kill shelter (the city shelter/animal control) here has posters when you walk in saying there are options and help they provide to people who are going to surrender for financial or behavioural reasons. There are a whole bunch of them, addressing a number of concerns, and giving like, hotline numbers and saying to talk to the people at the desk if you were planning to surrender because you can't afford vet care or stuff. I don't know exactly what help they offer or if they have partners or whatever, but there's something.

Bolero
06-09-2014, 02:16 AM
. Education about spaying and neutering helps but ... too many people are not responsible or are flat-out evil (I don't think not spaying or neutering is evil - abusing is evil).

Yeah - but at least some people are trying to improve this. It will never be perfect but I think it is a lot better than say 100 years ago. (Thought a semi-cheery thought was a good idea at this point :) )

melindamusil
06-09-2014, 07:22 AM
You reminded me - the high-kill shelter (the city shelter/animal control) here has posters when you walk in saying there are options and help they provide to people who are going to surrender for financial or behavioural reasons. There are a whole bunch of them, addressing a number of concerns, and giving like, hotline numbers and saying to talk to the people at the desk if you were planning to surrender because you can't afford vet care or stuff. I don't know exactly what help they offer or if they have partners or whatever, but there's something.

A sad/funny story...
Our local (kill) shelter also really pushes people to find alternatives to surrendering their animals. Nonetheless, they regularly have people who will drop off animals on their doorstep in the middle of the night. (It's not technically legal but, if they don't know who dropped off the animal, the shelter can't do much about it.)

They outgrew their building long ago, and a few years ago, the city built them a new shelter. The city then gifted the old shelter building to the police K-9 unit. With some light remodeling (donated by a local company), the building is a great asset to the K-9 unit.

Far too often, the K-9 police will get to the building in the morning and discover a box of puppies or kittens on the doorstep, presumably left by someone who didn't get the message that this is not the animal shelter anymore.

WeaselFire
06-09-2014, 08:29 AM
I also realize there are kill shelters. I would much prefer there weren't.
So would they. Bottom line is there are too many animals. Not euthanizing is cruel. So unwanted pets get euthanized all the time. The shelters that call themselves "no-kill" are really just pawning the job off on someone else. When they are full, they simply refuse the animal. Somebody, somewhere gets the ugly job of euthanizing a perfectly healthy and happy box of kittens because there is no room for them anywhere else.

Side note: My spell checker and poor typing skills combine in this thread to change everything to "euthanize unwanted poets." Maybe an omen? :)

Jeff

Dollywagon
06-09-2014, 08:49 AM
To those who suggested if a vet doesn't take payment then it's legal to rehome - doubt it. An owner always has to sign a form for destruction saying that is what they want and authorising the vet to do it. And a vet is really sticking his neck out by going against the wishes of the owner - they are bound by ethics too and risk their jobs doing stuff like that.
But most caring vets will, not try to talk an owner out of it (what's the point they don't want the dog) but will try and encourage re-homing.
As somebody once said to me, the only difference between the 'developed' world, where we have institutions that 'appear' to protect animal welfare, and the undeveloped where strays roam the streets, is that the developed world hides it better. We don't let people see the nasty stuff.

cornflake
06-09-2014, 09:01 AM
We do have institutions that protect animals. We also have ones that don't, and too many animals for the number of people willing to protect them.

However, there are real rescues and shelters that work really hard to find homes, and help animals, and refer to other rescues or fosters when they're full. If someone brings a box of kittens to a rescue that can't take them, it's not like it's certain they'll end up dead.

There are rescues that pull from kill shelters, trying to save those animals, and move them to homes. There are lots and lots and lots of people working to help. I was just looking at a vet's webpage. It's a small practice, with only two vets, that's adopted out nearly 400 cats a few years after having decided to devote some space in their waiting room for rescues to showcase cats that need homes.

I'm not disputing that waaaay too many animals are killed, god knows, or that there isn't too little space, but I don't think it's the same as in places that have very few such organizations devoted to animal rescue.

Dollywagon
06-09-2014, 09:56 AM
My point really was that we hide them. The strays exist like everywhere else, in fact maybe more so, but the public don't have it in their faces.

I think Ireland was one of the top countries in Europe for destroying dogs - I don't know if it's still the same - but I think the figures were around 40,000 a year. I know for certain that there is now some kind of arrangement with the UK and lots of them go there for re-homing (my neighbours have an Irish Bearded Collie)

Trebor1415
06-09-2014, 10:10 AM
I think you are making presumptions about what a vet would find ethical based on your own feelings and not on the reality of how vets would face that situation.

My advice: Ask a vet.

Cath
06-09-2014, 10:39 AM
Touchy subject, I know, but please focus on factually answering the OPs question, not discussing the validity or motives of the actions.

Dollywagon
06-09-2014, 01:09 PM
Okay. It's up to the individual vet. I worked for one that wouldn't and would jump through hoops to avoid it and then worked for one that would do it at the drop of a hat.
I'm also presuming that they can refuse to do it, because they can turn a customer away - but again down to individual choice.

Lindy
06-09-2014, 04:56 PM
Unfortunately, there aren't any agencies to report this sort of thing to, as pets are considered property. What we'd usually do in a case like this is discuss relinquishment with the owner, and then try to find a good home for the animal.

If the owner declines relinquishment, the only other options would be to refuse to euthanize and send the owner on their way...or perform the euthanasia. In situations like this, if a person is set on euthanizing an animal, they'll either find a vet who'll do it or take matters into their own hands (which is the worst possible scenario for the animal).

Lying about euthanizing an animal is a breach of ethics, one that could result in serious consequences from the AVMA if found out and reported.

Perks
06-09-2014, 05:01 PM
Thanks guys. This is very interesting and eye opening. Like I said, I've only ever run fish tanks and never needed a vet.

Veterinarians are doctors, but much more than doctors who treat human beings, it seems vets are in the mode of service, because the patient is not the customer.


I think you are making presumptions about what a vet would find ethical based on your own feelings and not on the reality of how vets would face that situation.

My advice: Ask a vet.

One of the great things about the story research sub-forum here on AW is the breadth of experience represented. So many people, and so many of them willing to share what they've run across in their travels.

I asked here to get a range of responses. I can get multiple anecdotes from the willing and wonderful AWers that are much more useful to storytelling. Calling up and interviewing ten local veterinarians would not be a good use of my time.

If ever I need very specific, detailed information, I always go to the expert source.

snafu1056
06-10-2014, 02:29 AM
I worked in a vet's office years back and one thing I saw happen several times was people leaving their unwanted pets literally on the doorstep, like abanoned babies. I think someone looking to just get rid of a pet might resort to that sooner than having the thing put to sleep, which would cost them money and just be plain sadistic.

Satori1977
06-10-2014, 06:50 AM
Not a vet, but I've been a vet tech for 13 years. I have seen this happen, but thankfully it's rare. Usually the vet can talk the idiot out of euthanizing and instead relinquishing the pet if there is no reason. Sometimes people aren't jerks, they just feel it is their only option. I worked at a shelter briefly, and a guy came in in tears, saying he couldn't decide if he should surrender his dog, or release him into the woods because he couldn't care for him anymore (we told him it was the right decision, the dog probably would have been killed by coyotes).

If the owner refuses, the vet might decide to go ahead with euthanasia (I have NEVER seen a vet do this if there was absolutely no reason. Young, healthy animal, no behavioral issues), but most of the time they will simply refuse. And they will be forced to relinquish, or try to find another vet willing to do it. But it wouldn't be easy.

As for a vet saying they will euth, have the owner fill out paperwork and leave the animal, then not do it to rehome them anyway....a vet might do that, but it would be highly unlikely. It is illegal, and they could lose their license, or worse. Again, I've never known a vet that would do this. But the last place I worked, supposedly a vet that worked there years before would do it (this was the shelter). They would hide the animal and take him home. But he was found out and fired.

As for an agency the vet can contact, there really isn't one that I know of in the states (I live in CO). If the vet suspects neglect or abuse, they can call the cops or Animal Control and forcibly take the animal, but that decision can't be made by a vet alone. I suppose a vet could claim animal abuse if a person wants to euth for no reason, but that would be hard to make stick unless the person themself tried to kill the dog.

Hope this helps.

melindamusil
06-10-2014, 07:13 AM
If you're talking about livestock animals instead of dogs and cats, that would also be a different situation. Ranchers will regularly "thin the herd" and send cows to the slaughterhouse that don't exactly have anything wrong with them, but it would cost more to feed the cow through the winter than the farmer could get for the meat.

veinglory
06-10-2014, 07:32 AM
Veterinarians are doctors, but much more than doctors who treat human beings, it seems vets are in the mode of service, because the patient is not the customer.

Vets are doctors and they are meant, like any doctor, to give priority to the needs of the patient and sign up to an ethical statement to this effect. How this is interpreted varies widely, but many consider what might happen to an unwanted dog they refuse to euthanize--which can include worse kinds of suffering and worse methods of death.

Dollywagon
06-10-2014, 08:14 AM
Veinglory, this is where I go a little off track; but dogs in their thousands are euthanised everyday - unwanted dogs. And it's vets that do it. It's people that get them and don't want them and then vets go in with a needle and sort out the problem. To think there is some kind of honour code or ethics to preserve life going on here contradicts what society does. I know I got told off for wandering into this territory before, but if you think our society is any different to a society that has streets full of strays, then you're wrong. We just have people to clean up the mess.

In fact, look at my avitar: the big dog, he was a stray. When I went to collect him a guy was at the counter with a 6 week old staffie puppy that he was returning. He was returning it because it had 'bitten' one of the kids. This was a 6 week old pup and he'd had it a day or so. But he wanted another one, he wanted to 'swap' it. The staff, good on 'em, wouldn't let him. But that man will just go out there and get one from somewhere else - this is a man who doesn't even understand that a fat, wriggly puppy, will 'feel' with its mouth. What would happen to the next dog he laid his hands on? Destroyed or in a pound. People treat pets like commodities and there are vets out there that will destroy animals on request and there are vets that have to destroy animals on request in great numbers because we would be overrun with strays otherwise.

Koschei
06-10-2014, 03:47 PM
I know a lot of people have already answered but I asked my vet friends the question and thought I'd share their response. Since this might vary from place to place, one is Australian and one is Potugese. Both said it is entirely at the vet's discretion so some will do it and some will refuse. The Australian said he would try and get the owner to seek an alternative while the one from Portugal said that it is ultimately the owner's decision and, if they were adamant, she would probably do it.

Perks
06-10-2014, 04:41 PM
You people are terrific. I'm getting information and interpretation and this type of stuff is one of the most valuable mines on AW.

Thank you.

veinglory
06-10-2014, 06:15 PM
Veinglory, this is where I go a little off track; but dogs in their thousands are euthanised everyday - unwanted dogs. And it's vets that do it.

There are vets that choose to do this, because they feel having these 1-2 million dogs every year dumped out onto the streets would lead to a suffering worse than death.

There are generally the very same vets who donate their time to do low cost spay and neuter and run adoption drives. Which is why the number is down from the 5-6 million of 10 years ago.

I don't judge them for choosing to engage with the problem as best they can, unless you call admiration a kind of judging because this part of the job is very hard on them. Nor to I criticize those who engage with no kill shelters as part of that solution, in the hopes it may one day be the whole solution once population control becomes fully effective.

Satori1977
06-10-2014, 06:51 PM
Actually, if you are talking shelters, vets usually don't do the euthanizing. Many shelters don't even have vets on staff.

melindamusil
06-10-2014, 08:07 PM
Actually, if you are talking shelters, vets usually don't do the euthanizing. Many shelters don't even have vets on staff.

That depends on what you mean by "on staff". My local shelter contracts with a couple of vets (because it's cheaper to have two or three contract veterinarians than one full time vet).

But it's true that vets are often not the ones who euthanize. The shelter employs a few vet techs who do most of the euthanizations. The vet only steps in when they are really overwhelmed.

Of course, this does not count the animals who euthanized because they are in poor health - the vets usually take care of those.

Canotila
06-11-2014, 01:29 AM
That depends on what you mean by "on staff". My local shelter contracts with a couple of vets (because it's cheaper to have two or three contract veterinarians than one full time vet).

But it's true that vets are often not the ones who euthanize. The shelter employs a few vet techs who do most of the euthanizations. The vet only steps in when they are really overwhelmed.

Of course, this does not count the animals who euthanized because they are in poor health - the vets usually take care of those.

From what I understand, this can vary from state to state as well. In some states a veterinarian is the only one that can legally euthanize an animal in a clinical setting, which the shelter counts as. It also depends on the drug administered for euthanasia, as some drugs only vets can administer.