If You Bring Your Injured Pug to the Vet For the Long Sleep and He Saves, Keeps the Dog, Should You Sue?

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ERMAHGERD! MAH AYEBERL!
A case out of Marshall, reported today by Courthouse News, is truly the Bermuda Triangle for moral compasses. Janna Ardoin brought Chester, her Chinese Pug, into Patchwork Pet Resort and Veterinary Clinic with his eyeball dangling from its socket, attached by the merest of threads.

She had three choices: Pay $380 to surgically treat the grievous wound; pay $90 to help poor Chester shuffle off his mortal coil; or take him home with his eyeball dangling from his head like a paddle ball. Obviously, the latter was no real option. And the first Ardoin simply could not afford, nor would the vet, she claims, allow her to make payments on the procedure or post-date a check. Which left only option B: euthanization.

So she forked over the $90 and apparently didn't stick around to see the deed done. Over the next few weeks, Ardoin grieved for Chester, until one day she got a call from a friend who'd recently paid a visit to Patchwork. She had sighted Chester, who was alive and well. The vet had repaired his eye and given him to an employee. Ardoin got his proof of life and decided to take the vet to court.

The vet, she claims, breached his fiduciary duty to her over a years-long relationship by failing to deal honestly with her. She accuses him of conversion, reasoning that she paid him to whack her dog, and instead he took possession of it, violating their implicit contract.

What a moral conundrum! Part of me thinks a pet owner who does not have the resources to treat an eminently treatable injury cedes ownership. To be sure, $380 isn't chump change, but Ardoin had a responsibility to Chester. And because of the vet, Chester shall loudly mouth-breathe for another day.

Of course, a court may see Chester simply as property whose orderly disposal Ardoin paid a just fee for. But, really, who wants to make that argument?

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57 comments
Joseph
Joseph

We need state laws that force vets to treat animals in pain.  A vet who won't should be euthanized himself.

roo_ster
roo_ster

Vet screwed the pooch and is guilty.  He ought to have given the dog the Big Shot.  If he was not willing to do so, he should have told the gal to find another vet.  Stealing someone's property after someone paid to have it disposed of is the wrong answer.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

The lady abandoned the dog so vet gets the dog. The lady gets her euthanasia money back as there was none. Between the lines: vet recognized this lady had no business caring for a pet and did right by the dog.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

How do these discussions turn into pointless political name calling?

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

Before reading the comments; the vet should have waived the fee, and then the lady would have no say.  The lady is due her $95 (or whatever it was) back.

1dailyreader
1dailyreader

The vet should be allowed to keep the dog and the $90 should be regarded as first and final payment.  If  Ardoin didn't want to find a Vet that may take payments, it's her own fault that the Vet she took him to fixed the dogs eye up and kept him.  Is she going to pay the balance of what is owed for the surgery if she takes him?  The Vet didn't want the dog so he gave him to someone else probably because he knew he could save the dog and didn't want to needlessly put the dog to sleep.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

What if the Dad wanted the dog?  Has he been harmed if Momma didn't not give him a choice, but unilaterally made the decision to put him down due to a bad hair day?  Does have a civil claim - is this a tort?

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

What kind of lousy vet does not take payments on a $380 vet bill?

 

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

That caption is killing me, Hargrove. Flawless. 

anon
anon

I am going to preface this comment by saying that I am as compassionate towards dogs as a person rightfully should be. I have adopted dogs, taken in strays myself, donated thousands of dollars to rescue groups, and spent thousands on the care of my own dogs. But what went on here with the vet is nothing more than fraud and theft. She owns the dog. She paid the vet to perform a legal service on the dog. He took her money and did not euthanize the dog. That's fraud. He had no legal right of ownership of the dog. Having charged for a service he failed to perform, he seized her property, illegally performed surgery on it, and then gave it away. As far as I'm concerned, the dog is legally hers. The vet's service can be considered charity care that he voluntarily performed on it. 

liberalsareracist
liberalsareracist

You people are weird.

 

The issue is not whether she wanted the dog dead or the $90. The problem is that the vet refused to give her payment options, and then did the work for free to save the dog not for her but for someone else. 

 

The human version of this is a Dr not saving someone they know they can because a friend of theirs needs the patient's liver.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

Taking the $90 was conversion.  The rest of it should go away if he just gives her money back.

todd
todd

It seems to me the euthanization option should have never been offered.  The only problem Chester had was dangle eye, which the doc knew he could fix.  

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

She wanted her dog dead.  The Vet cured him.  She's an idiot.

J_A_
J_A_ topcommenter

This lady really should've gotten a second opinion.

observist
observist

She loved her dog so much, she's suing the vet for not killing it.

 

However, the vet should give her the $90 back, since he didn't incur any of the costs of putting it to sleep.  And I'm sure it pisses off the owner that he would treat the dog pro bono so he could give it to someone else, but not treat it for her on an installment payment plan.  So, in the mind of the vet, $380 up front > gift giving > $380 on an installment plan.

 

Takeaway: if you don't even have $380 of available credit, you can't really afford to keep a dog.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

So if Suzy B pays for a late term abortion however, the good Doctor instead covertly delivers the chile and gives it away, does she have a bitch?

 

What if the taxpayer pays for the abortion?

 

What if the not-so-good Doctor sells the kid to a wealthy Chinese couple out of Rangoon?

roo_ster
roo_ster

 @primi_timpano The dog was not abandoned.  Dog was paid to be euthanized and disposed of.    I have seen many abandoned dogs, dead and alive.  The pug in the OP is not one of them.

anon
anon

 @scottindallas So if you pay to have your parents cremated because you can't afford to have them embalmed, but they give the body to somebody who wants to use it for some purpose, all you want back is the cost of the cremation?

anon
anon

 @liberalsareracist technically, there's no human version of it because our society has decided we should all just eat the cost, whether through taxes or higher insurance premiums, to keep people alive as long as their family wants them alive, even if it means spending a few million to keep them hooked up to a machine for a week with absolutely no chance of coming back.

anon
anon

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz She did not want the dog dead. She knew it could be fixed. She simply could not afford it.

kduble
kduble

How do you get a second opinion when the animal is suffering like that?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @observist "Takeaway: if you don't even have $380 of available credit, you can't really afford to keep a dog."

 

Takeaway: if you don't even have $380 of available credit, you can't really afford to keep a kid.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

 @anon  @scottindallas But in the cremation case don't you still get the ashes.   Actually you'd be surprised at then number of cases where the family has a member cremated and then never pick up the ashes - should they claim a discount?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @rowingisfun a permutation of an old George Carlin retort when he asked his girlfriend how she was doing - "Pregnant!".

 

W-w-what are you going to do?

 

"Kill my self!"

 

"Say, you ARE a sport!"

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

 @holmantx  But our governor thinks you should have that kid whether you can afford it or not, much less be able to receive a no-cost or low-cost consultation about your options.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

 @TexOHara  @brantley.hargrove1 Clearly not! Look at the sheer number of hilarious animal jokes we've run this week! (Two.)

 

I know change is hard, but we're pretty proud of the blog lately. I think Eric's doing a great job. And we're pretty stoked that you've all stuck around.  

anon
anon

 @liberalsareracist no, your analogy is not valid. in your scenario, the doctor who wanted the organ would have to lie to the patient (or the patient's family) and say he was unable to save the patient's life. because if he said I can save this patient's life but only if you are willing to pay up for the expensive treatment, legally the care would have to be administered and payment plans figured out later. and the doctor would not get his organ. the vet did not lie to her about his ability to care for the dog. he simply would not let her finance the treatment and therefore left her in the position of being forced to put the dog down.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

 @everlastingphelps What part of "tell me where I said that" do you not understand? At least follow directions when you're being a troll.

observist
observist

 @everlastingphelps  @Scruffygeist  @holmantx Whereas you would have the woman forced against her will to take care of the pug for 9 months, and, since you don't want YOUR taxes to pay the $380, you would have the pug taken from the woman, whether she wants to keep it or not, and given to someone willing to pay the $380.  All because some dude gave her a puppy.for Valentine's day...

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

 @Scruffygeist  @holmantx And apparently, you think they should be "euthanized" like the pug, rather than given to someone who wants them... like the pug.

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