Daniel Dockery, of Phoenix, Arizona, started hand-feeding Scruffy even before she opened her eyes at 4 days old. He raised money to have Scruffy spayed. The kitten ate from fresh cans of tuna and slept on Dockery’s pillow at night.
Dockery is recovering from a 20-year heroin addiction and has a lengthy prison record; raising Scruffy, his closest companion for the past nine months, brought hope and joy back into his life and helped him maintain his sobriety.
On December 8, Dockery rushed his beloved kitten to the Arizona Humane Society’s Campus for Compassion in Phoenix, for treatment for injuries after she was cut on a barbed-wire fence. These were not life-threatening injuries, and were easily treatable.
Scruffy Euthanized Even Though She Was Not Seriously Injured
Two days after Christmas, officials confirmed that Scruffy was euthanized just hours after Dockery brought the cat in for treatment, not because of its wounds, but because its owner could not immediately pay for her care.
Dockery was devastated.
“Now I’ve got to think about how I failed that beautiful animal,” Dockery, 49, said. “I failed her. … That’s so wrong. There was no reason for her not to be treated.”
Dockery said he surrendered ownership of Scruffy on Dec. 8 after clinic officials declined to take a credit card from his mother over the phone or wait 24 hours for cash. He said staff told him Scruffy would be treated only if he signed over ownership.
A story about Dockery’s search for Scruffy on Saturday in The Arizona Republic led to an outpouring of support. In more than 150 e-mails and phone calls, residents offered Dockery financial help, new kittens and free veterinarian services.
“The treatment of Mr. Dockery and his cat, Scruffy, was extremely sad and made me very angry at the lack of compassion he received,” Andrea Peterssen wrote in an e-mail. “This type of situation tarnishes the reputation of all the good people who work and volunteer (at the Humane Society).”
Treatment Available For Two Cats; Scruffy Was The Third
Apparently Scruffy was transported to the Humane Society’s second-chance clinic along with three other cats; doctors were available to treat only two. So they killed her.
The clinic refused to accept Dockery’s mother’s credit card authorization by phone, saying they don’t accept credit cards. They also refused to wait, to give her time to wire the money needed to take care of Scruffy.
On Friday, the Humane Society said it will review its credit-card policy.
That was little solace for Scruffy’s owner, but despite his anger, Dockery is encouraging people not to pull funding from the Humane Society.
Please Take Action Now!
This is a horrible situation. It is also a series of events that surprises me. As the owner of several cats, I have always been impressed by the compassion shown by both the Humane Society and the ASPCA.
Still, even if this is an aberration, it is both tragic and cruel, especially in the light of Scruffy’s role as a therapy pet.
If you agree, please sign our petition to make Arizona a no-kill state to prevent this type of tragedy from happening again.
Photo: Screenshot from azcentral.com/12 news