A cat was recently brought to a Massachusetts veterinarian for a scheduled flea bath, and instead was accidentally euthanized.
According to My Fox 25 in Boston, a woman from Gardner, Mass., is grieving the loss of her cat.
Her son had brought the cat to the vet for a scheduled flea bath, and upon bringing a second cat to drop off, learned the first cat he'd brought in to be bathed was euthanized.
"She was healthy, she was beautiful, she didn't have a bit of sickness about her," says Colleen Conlon of her cat, Lady.
What had happened was Jesse Conway, 24, brought Lady to the Broadway Animal Hospital and was handed the wrong authorization forms by Dr. Muhammad Malik. He signed them, but indicated he did not know what he was signing, thinking they were registration forms. He said no one explained the paperwork to him.
His mother had reportedly called the vet 15 minutes before the appointment to confirm the appointment and price of the flea bath.
After Conway signed the forms, he went home to get their second cat, since he could not travel with both simultaneously, and learned of Lady's being put down in his absence when he returned.
Reportedly, staff had asked him if he wanted to keep the bodies, which was when realization set in of what had happened to Lady.
"He asked me if I wanted to keep the bodies," says Conway. "It was like a blank stare back at each other for the first 10 seconds, then he immediately grabbed the papers I thought were registration forms and told me I had signed the papers."
Conway told Fox News he made the mistake of signing papers and not knowing what he signed.
Conlon told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette she wanted to share this story so other pet owners could be aware of what could happen. She urges pet owners to carefully check any paperwork given.
“I don't think there was any malicious intent, but I do think it was negligent,” Ms. Conlon said. “I'm sure there are standards of practice they have to follow.”
Reportedly, Dr. Malik is not speaking to the media on advice of counsel, but his lawyer, Michael Sheridan, asked that people wait until the facts are all out before making judgment. He also noted that his client has received many "disturbing" death threats, which he has asked police to investigate.
“Dr. Malik’s heart certainly goes out to them and he’s very saddened about their ordeal,” Sheridan said. “He’s certainly not trying to cast guilt on this individual. Maybe he didn’t know the definition of ‘euthanize’ or maybe he didn’t understand the verbiage. The end result was that the cat was put down.”
Reportedly, Dr. Malik was given a 1-year probation on his license stemming from a 2002 incident where it was said he failed to follow standards in the treatment of a dog's paw. He was also ordered to obtain an additional 25 hours of continuing education in radiology and orthopedics.
Conlon is devastated by the loss as Lady had been given to her by her daughter who later died in a 2010 car accident.