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Vet Fakes Death of Dog
Status: Strange
I've heard of faking the death of people, but I've never before heard of a case of someone faking the death of an animal. Until now. The Chicago Sun Times reports on this bizarre case of a Pennsylvania couple who thought the vet had euthanized their epileptic dog, but then found out he had only pretended to do so:

A couple who thought they were watching their epileptic dog being euthanized actually witnessed a simple sedation procedure concocted so the veterinary clinic could later give the canine to another owner, they claim in a lawsuit... the lawsuit says, the dog was given a sedative to make it appear she was dead. The clinic then gave Annie to a new owner, Gene Rizzo of northeast Philadelphia, who cared for the dog until he had her euthanized Nov. 2.

I just don't understand the motivation of the vet here. Was he trying to make a buck by selling someone a sick dog? Or did he not think the dog was sick enough to be euthanized, but didn't want to tell that to the couple?
Categories: Animals, Death
Posted by The Curator on Mon May 01, 2006
Comments (17)
"In the lawsuit, the Ganyers say they were told by a former clinic employee that they were considered "heartless" and that a meeting was called the morning Annie was to be euthanized to devise a plan to "rescue" the dog."
The dog probably wasn't sick enough to euthanize. Strange thing to do for a vet.
Posted by Mikkel  in  Copenhagen  on  Mon May 01, 2006  at  06:02 AM
People have varying opinions about their pets -- ranging from little more than livestock to nearly like children. The two ends of the spectrum probably consider the other end to be unbalanced or inhumane. Throw vet bills into the equation and you'll get even more polarization.
Posted by cvirtue  on  Mon May 01, 2006  at  07:25 AM
I'm guessing the doc thought the people were unfairly having the dog euthanized...but if he charged for both euthanizations, sedation & the re-selling of the dog...It seems like his motivation would be cash.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Mon May 01, 2006  at  12:18 PM
A vet I know will often take animals from people who want them euthanized and then try to find them homes. These are animals that aren't critically ill; just inconvenient for their owners. However, he does this with the knowledge of the first owners; he does not (as far as I know) pretend to euthanize the animals and then secretly sell or give them away.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Happy, Texas, USA  on  Mon May 01, 2006  at  02:54 PM
Technically, Big Gary, if the animals are not critically ill I wouldn't say that they are 'euthanized' but rather killed, it sounds harsh, but true. Unless the animals were in significant pain it's more like killing.
Posted by Dracul  on  Mon May 01, 2006  at  07:34 PM
In the words of the immortal Ali G, "What's all dis got to do wiv yoof in Asia?"
Posted by outeast  on  Tue May 02, 2006  at  04:36 AM
Yes, Dracul, that's why my vet friend won't do it.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Happy, Texas, USA  on  Tue May 02, 2006  at  09:56 AM
I know some vets who accept healthy animals for euthanasia and the owners don't want to stay for the actual euthanasia. The animals then get taken to the ward and the owner told they will be PTS during surgery hours. They are sent to local no-kill shelters with instructions that they mustn't be rehomed in a certain location. It only happens when the reason given by the owner is they just don't want the animal, usually it is inconvenient or they are bored with it. Good vets hate to destroy healthy lives if there is an alternative (good vets dislike callous owners who think pets are disposable).

The use of microchips makes this much harder as the original owner might get contacted when the new owner tries to register the cat or dog's chip number or if it strays (assuming the original owner cared enough to get the animal chipped).
Posted by Luoise  in  UK  on  Wed May 03, 2006  at  09:41 AM
I'm not absolutely sure (never having done this myself, though I've been sorely tempted), but I think this constitutes malpractice. Taking money for services that weren't done and all that.

Most people who are in for a convenience euthanasia are more than willing to let someone else take over ownership. You just have to ask. On the flip side, I'd rather euthanize a pet (for whatever reason) than have the owner try to kill it themselves and botch it (it happens).

By the way, euthanasia literally means "good death." I think of it as a peaceful, humane death. But however you want to think of it, it's killing. It takes a lot out of us who are in the profession. (But I don't envy physicians, who don't generally have the option to give their patients a kind way out.)
Posted by hippievet  on  Sat May 06, 2006  at  06:32 PM
I had a vet do this to me, and we are in the process of suing him. We brought our dog, who was very ill, to this vet, and they charged us, told us the dog would be euthanized, and how sorry they were, etc., and then PUT THE DOG UP FOR ADOPTION without our consent. This is an example of the vet playing God, and making unilateral decisions for his clients. Unfortunately, euthanasia is a part of veterinary medicine. IF vets do not want to perform this procedure, then they should simply refuse to do it. They should NOT, however, accept money for a service, pretend to do the service, and then place the dog without the legal owner's consent. IF they have ethical or moral conflict with euthanasia, then they should NOT include it as a service. We did not want our dog to suffer, but apparently she was not "sick enough," in this vet's opinion, to euthanize, so she is now living in pain, being treated for something that we did not want to see her suffer through, and the vet will not tell us where she is! Vets who do this are violating the trust of their clients. Some of us love our dogs so much that we cannot bear to watch them go. That is why we trust our vets and this is supposed to be such a sacred relationship. When a vet violates this trust, there is NO excuse, and they should be severely punished.

By the way, this vet also FORGED release signatures from us to cover himself. This is NOT ethical or moral, and is NOT something vets have the right to do.
Posted by dogmom  on  Fri Jul 21, 2006  at  03:50 PM
I think it is sick that vets are expected to murder healthy animals just because an owner doesn't want to be bothered with the animal they purchased. When you buy a pet, you are also buying a great deal of responsibility. If you can't pay for vet bills, etc, and if you don't intend on taking an animal with you when you move, then for god's sakes, don't get an animal. To do so is selfish in the extreme.

I can very much understand why vets do these things, and by the sounds of things dogmom, you made the decision to kill a dog based on your idea of its suffering, and more than likely, your unwillingness to pay for the treatment it needed. You're now agitated that your dog actually has a home and treatment for a disease that you weren't willing to provide treatment for.

I highly doubt vets take joy in deceiving pet owners for no reason. Your statements are contradictory as well, you say on the one hand that the clinic told you it had to be put down, but on the other, you didn't want your animal to be treated for its illness. Which one was it, exactly?

I think you should get your money back for the euthanasia that wasn't performed, and I think you should be prohibited from owning further animals. I wouldn't tell you where your dog was either.
Posted by Manimal  on  Tue Dec 18, 2007  at  01:23 AM
Manimal, that's just sick. You don't understand the entire situation, and are making biased assumptions based on your personal feelings.

Here's a hint for a successful future: Try to see both sides of the line.

I don't know dogmom's entire story, so I'm not saying what they did was right or wrong, but if a dog is in un-treatable pain, the only ethical thing to do would be to end that pain.

I love my dogs more than most humans, and would kill to protect them, but if they were injured beyond repair or were suffering from a terminal disease, I would make the call for euthanasia. It wouldn't be an easy choice, but it would be the RIGHT one.
Posted by Understanding  on  Mon Feb 25, 2008  at  04:57 PM
my dog died 2 months ago of old age. If I take a new dog, it will definetly be one out of the shelters. Too many
Posted by feliz1a  on  Tue Jun 01, 2010  at  05:16 PM
I believe my cat was stolen from me yesterday by a vet who judged me unworthy to own my own pet; who faked its death with a sedative. I am SOOOOOOO sad! This cat was my pet soulmate and was so happy with me it never showed any symptoms of illness until yesterday, it became really sick & the vet misjudged me as a bad owner because of the cat's dire condition - as if it couldn't have possibly been spontaneous illness. But the day before yesterday my kitty was healthy, then the next day she wasn't; was just like that! Overnight! I wish I could get her back, but how? They took her away as if to cremate her & I know they're simply gonna revive her and somebody who loves her less than me and who will be less loved by this cat than I am loved by her, gets to raise my lil kitty. I feel like one of those parents whose child is unjustly taken by the government. This vet totally misjudged me; then stole my cat!
Posted by Grim LeRogue  in  Bronx  on  Wed Jun 01, 2011  at  11:04 AM
The same thing happened to me. The vet always made me feel like I didn't know how to care for my aging cat. They eventually staged the euthenisia. They said it was the only option. I think the sedated her and revived her after I left. How do i proove this? I want this vet held accountable.
Posted by Sammy  on  Fri Jan 06, 2012  at  01:25 AM
in a lot of European countries it is against the law ie A CRIME to euthanize healthy animals

@ dogmom your point of view is incomprehensible, you are suing him ?

Vets who are courageous enough to risk themselves to save dogs from being killed by callous owners with much less vet expertise.

I'm not a vegetarian and my life is not focused on animals, but your point of view is shocking. I hope that justice and common sense wins over your inhumane erm.. 'opinion'
Posted by bunny  on  Sat Apr 14, 2012  at  06:53 PM
Some veterinarians are crooks. There is a global underground/black market for animal fur. Due to the Canadian governement Fur Trade Law, it is NOT illegal to import/export animals, insects, fungi, cells, bacteria, ect.
There is a market for cat fur in some countries. New Zealand is one of those countires. Dog and cat fur is also used to manufacture winter clothing.
Animal parts are also sought after by individuals around the world.
There are many vets who profit as a result.
Posted by Sammy  on  Tue Apr 17, 2012  at  12:15 AM
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