Woman Pays Vet to Euthanize Dog, Finds it Living with New Owner 4 Months Later

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Lisa Gossett’s one-year-old Chihuahua Lola was viciously mauled by another dog four months ago. The veterinarian told her the outlook was not good and gave her two choices.

“Pay out all this money and there’s a 20% chance that she’ll live or euthanize her, so it was hard,” said Gossett.

Gossett says she didn’t want Lola to suffer, so she signed a waiver and said a painful goodbye. For weeks she and her daughter grieved the loss of Lola, honoring her memory and trying to get past the pain of losing her. Just as they were making progress, an unexpected phone call turned their world upside down.

Lola was alive and well, and living in a new home.

This shocking report from WKOB raises interesting questions about matters of ownership, trust, and intent: and if nothing else, it serves as a compelling reminder to always read the fine print before signing on the dotted line.


Clinic administrator Lynda Stevens issued a statement saying that the worker who removed the dog had violated policy and had been terminated.

31 thoughts on “Woman Pays Vet to Euthanize Dog, Finds it Living with New Owner 4 Months Later”

  1. If the lil gal wasn’t suffering and I didn’t want to put the money out, then I would be elated that someone saved her.
    I would always do all I can for an animal even if it only had a 5 percent chance, as long as the animal was comfortable.
    How could anyone be mad about it?

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    • Because the vet caused grief for the dogs owners, and was miss led on how the dog was to be taken care of. The vet and many other people in my yahoo groups for dogs would sound out on this one big time.

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    • This vet lied to her and took her money for procedures he didn’t perform. He never gave her the option of a rescue service to help with the costs.
      If my vet did that, I be pissed beyond words.
      Everyone is glad the dog is alive and healthy but no one should be lied to and stolen from especially in a time of crisis.

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      • Someone help me out here with legalities. Just found out my brother inlaw got a call today 2-11-2013 from the vet he paid and signed a form to put their dog down dec 26th 2012. The dog was very sick, not eating, couldn’t move, liver failure and possibly had lymphoma cancer. The vet didn’t put the dog down instead kept the dog alive and gave him routine $300 injections to keep him alive all this time. Now wants to trade the dog for cleaning services since my brother inlaw “doesn’t have a lot of money for this kind of treatment”!!! What the hey? Is this legal. To top it all off … His wife’s father has brain cancer and to deal with that and the dog not being put down…what should be done here? Any thoughts?

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  2. The vet was right. Give the dog a chance it’s not that the dogs fault that the owner didn’t have the money. My cousin is a vet tech and she got a 3 month old min pin because the owners 5yr old monster of a kid threw the dog into the wall and broke it’s leg and the owner didn’t want to pay they wanted it killed. My cousin wouldn’t allow it and she paid for the surgery and took the dog.

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    • That is fine that your cousin paid for the surgery and was able to take the dog but did the owner that wanted to put it to sleep know that your cousin was going to take the dog? That is different if they let your cousin take it, but for someone to think their dog only had 2 options fix or put to sleep (w a 20% chance of not living) she did not know any better, she thought she was having her sick dog euthenized then cremated, this vet should have at least explained to her what her other option was, also the dog was microchipped so the vet should have realized that if the new owner was going to register that the microchip company would call the original owner, you cant reregister without the original owners consent. Sorry this vet was in the wrong, We have had cats come into our animal hospital and the people signed it over to us, they did not sign a euthenasia form they signed that we can take the cat and treat or do what we think is in best interested for the cat. That is so different than giving somone only 2 options when there was a 3rd. Vet is in the wrong.

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    • The vet lied to her about the dogs chances then took her money for procedures he didn’t perform. You don’t have a problem with that?
      She was not offered the rescue service help that ended up paying for the surgery.
      He is lucky she did not sue him for fraud and emotional damage. Imagine thinking the most humane thing for your dog was to be put down, money was not necessarily the problem, the dogs slim chance of survival was, then imagine that you paid your vet to put your pet out of it’s misery, then imagine your pet was dead and gone for 5 months, then imagine that you found out that your pet was alive and your vet had lied to you about it and had taken your money. How would you feel then?
      This vet wasn’t right, he should be ashamed.

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      • The vet was dishonest plain and simple. That’s assuming that the waiver didn’t discuss this. I work in the veterinary field. You’d be surprised how often this happens. Pets get euthanised daily for lack of funds on the owners side. If you can’t afford it you can’t afford it. Putting the dog down would be the best thing for him. If he had an idea of someone else paying the bill and taking the dog after, he(the vet) should have discussed that with the owner. Maybe he did. Taking money for cremation was wrong. Although normally my clinic would not charge for cremation for such a small dog. I can see how the owner is upset. But she still should be happy that someone was able to care for the dog when she couldn’t.

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  3. I am 100% certain that the vet would encourage the client to save the pet and not euthanize it. Why would a vet do this? Why would a vet spend tons of money saving a pet only to adopt him out, losing money in the long run. Instead every vet I know would do his or her best to save a pet for the owner, this way they get a happy outcome and make money to pay for the medical care the animal needed! I am sure this lady did not want to spend the money…so she chose euthanasia. The clinic decided to save this pet, feeling bad for it, and found him a good home afterwards.

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    • You have better hearted vets in your area than around here. I have known a LOT of vets who would do exactly what you are saying. But now everyone at least in THIS area posts signs all over from the time you walk thru the front door saying “Payment in full must be made at time of treatment.” And anyway, it is still fraud to take someone’s money and do this. You aren’t exactly thinking straight when you go in and are give the info that your pet only has a 20 percent chance of survival (and probably with the words that the charge will be $1,200.00). When I took a pup in the the emergency clinic in PA that was in shock I was told $300 cash right then — fortunately a friend that went with me had it in her pocket because I sure didn’t at that time and there was NO payment option — pay it now or we let your pup did. Like I said, what was done to this lady was fraud.

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    • The rescue not the vet paid for the dogs care – the vet fired the woman who took the dog to the rescue so nothing noble about this vet whatsoever. The vet made a quick buck agreeing to euthanize and cremate the dog then didn’t. The owner was told there was only a 20% chance of survival with painful rehabilitation if she survived, so she made a choice she believed to be humane and rightfully hers to make – and said goodbye to her dog. The ends do not justify the means (lying, cheating a woman out of money) no matter how wonderful it is the dog survived.

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    • I disagree with what you said about not blaming the vet, she was at fault because she sent someone else out to pick the dog up and was said she was in violation, to save her own ass. And then made money on top of that for herself. These people that pick up animals like that are volunteers and do what needs to be done. I say it’s the vet that is the one to look at in this case. Knowing the dog was so young the vet knew it would survive. And sold the dog to a new owner for probably twice the amount.

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    • They made it clear that the rescue group paid for the surgery, not the vet.
      He’s a liar and a thief for taking her money for services he did not perform.

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    • Those questioning the idea of the vet taking it upon him/herself to save a pet that they say only had two options – pay or euthanize…. few that I know of… pet after hours hospitals REQUIRE THAT YOU PAY BEFORE THEY EVEN TOUCH the pet… must make a 8-900.00 deposit for charges you might incur and ALSO sign their life away on all the options that MIGHT happen regarding the procedure. Also includes ‘disposal’ options – been there a few times. AT NO TIME was I offered option that a foundation would assist with payment if I could not afford it. Now my family vet is a different story… b/c I CHOSE one that is top notch and humane and ethical. This vet was obviously unethical to take money for a procedure they did not provide and never offered the owner an option of assistance. 20% survival with treatment???? Just b/c I can’t afford surgery that is akin to the costs of treatment for my child, does NOT mean I am unable to provide a GOOD home for my PET! SHE should have been told of ALL the possibilities UP FRONT and gotten the help provided regardless of her financial situation.

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    • I also find it odd that the family who supposedly cared so much for the little dog, didn’t stay with her in her final moments, or collect her ashes.

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    • Poor judgement on the vet’s part. Although I’m delighted the dog is alive and doing well, the vet really could have brought the old owner into the conversation to see if she would accede to someone else having the dog if the injuries were paid for by another person. I can’t imagine anyone who loved their pet refusing such an arrangement; difficult decision, but definitely less heartbreaking than having an animal put down.

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  4. IT’S VIOLATING POLICY TO SAVE A DOG’S LIFE AT A VET CLINIC????? I SWEAR what is wrong w/people today???? The one who saved her is going to win the lottery………….or PCH is going to knock on her door soon…………she’ll be rewarded!!!

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  5. I think it is great news that this little baby is still alive and well. I think it is horrible that owner did not do all she could to save her…no matter what the odds were…

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  6. Sorry to say, but this isn’t Paradise. Not everyone has the money to pay for extreme medical care. I worked at a veterinary hospital for 6 years. People can love their pet with all their heart, but in the end, money speaks. Vets may be in it for the love of the animal, but they still need to make money in order to continue their practice — paying for supplies, employees, insurance, etc as well as make a living for themselves. Ethically, a vet should let the owner know the odds they and their pet face. If an owner does not have the means to pay for life saving surgeries, there are two options: hope the pet gets better but may possibly suffer more pain unnecessarily, or end the pets suffering. You’d be surprised at how many times I’ve seen it where clients promise to pay their bills and then mysteriously disappear and the accounts have to be turned over to collections. This woman should NOT be knocked for doing what she had to financially as well as morally for her dog. Shame on anyone that jumps to the conclusion that she didn’t love her dog or do everything she could. Not everyone is made of money, and not everyone is willing to let their dog potentially suffer unnecessarily.

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    • A little side note to my above comment — in THIS case there was a 3rd, undisclosed, option that the vet didn’t add in. In MANY if not MOST areas there isn’t an option of a rescue that will spend bookoo bucks to help defray costs of expensive surgery as many rescues are overrun with strays & abandoned pets to help. Once again, not Paradise.

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    • Absolutely right…I am amazed at the people who believe vets should give services away all the time…I was a tech for 10 years and while the vets I worked with were always taking in strays and adjusting bills when they could, the bottom line is that they are running a business and bills must be paid. We euthanized many an animal because the owner could not pay what we explained to them would be large bills. I wish some rescue had stepped in to do what was done in this case….however vet was totally wrong to not explain this to the client.

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  7. My dog fractured his knee cap early last year. When the vet reviewed the X Rays for me, he advised that my options were to perform the surgery, estimated at about $2000, or surrender the dog. Most vets will not euthanize a dog if it can be saved. Most ETHICAL vets, anyway.

    But to be told that your dog has a 20% chance of survival, and who knows what they indicated quality of life would be if she survived, and to know you would have to spend thousands on treatment just to chance that survival? Deep down inside you know that not everyone has that money to gamble with, especially if it means your pet isn’t even guaranteed a happy life afterwards. In the case of my dog, we practically bankrupted ourselves scrambling to pull that money together, and he got his surgery. But the main reason we did it was because we knew he would go on to live a normal life because of it.

    Faking a dog’s death is a horrific thing to do. It is not justified because someone can’t afford the necessary treatment. Shame on you for implying so. When all you have are minutes to decide the best course of action for your pet’s life, and a medical professional is implying that euthanasia is the humane route, you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

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