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Cat Accidentally Euthanized

Cat Accidentally Euthanized

There are many nightmare scenarios for cat owners, but taking your cat to the vet for a routine flea bath and having her accidentally euthanized probably is not one you would expect. Tragically, that did indeed happen to Colleen Conlon and her 8-year-old cat, Lady.

Colleen’s 24-year-old son, Jesse, took Lady to the Broadway Animal hospital last week and unknowingly authorized the cat to be put down when he was handed, and then signed, the wrong forms. He learned about the mistake when he returned to drop off the family’s other cat for a bath and to pick up Lady. He was asked by the vet if he wanted to keep the body.

At first he thought it was a tasteless joke, but then realized the vet was serious — Lady had been accidentally euthanized.

When confronted by Colleen, the vet apologetically told her Jesse had signed the papers — and indeed he had.

The moral of this sad story is painfully clear: DO NOT ever sign paperwork that you have not read.

My heart goes out to the Conlon family, who must be devastated and shocked by the sudden death of their beloved pet.

Image: Jesse Conway / AP

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Read more: Cats, Feline Muse, Pet Health, Pets, Safety

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Cherise Udell

Cherise Udell is a mom, clean air advocate, anthropologist and feline aficionado with the nomadic habit of taking spontaneous sojourns to unusual destinations. Before her adventures in motherhood, she was an intrepid Amazon jungle guide equipped with a pair of sturdy wellingtons and a 24-inch machete, as well as a volunteer at a rainforest animal rescue center.


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10:28AM PST on Feb 8, 2013

I'm sorry, but the person who signed papers has fault here. He admits he didn't read the paperwork.
Now, what can be done to prevent similar cases (and this isn't isolated, the same story pops up every once in a while)?

explain all paperwork, that means YOU are looking at the forms, too. Misfiling happens, charts get switched.

Have a different intake procedure for euthanization, including glaringly different colors on paperwork. Use neon if you have to!

For pet owners:
Read everything, ask questions.
Make small talk that mentions why your animal is in that day.
Sure, you like your vet and trust them, but understand that all healthcare gets busy and cheks need to be in place.

1:31PM PST on Nov 26, 2012

My heart goes out to the whole family, but especially to Jesse as I can't imagine what he must have gone through once this tragic mistake came to light (and probably still is).

I know it won't help the family but they MUST take this further ....... questions need to be asked and action taken (legally or otherwise) to ensure that this NEVER happens to anyone else. What kind of hospital was this ?? Did NOBODY raise the question "Why?"? If just one person had asked that question the "mistake" would have been discovered in time to prevent this!! HEADS SHOULD ROLL FOR THIS !!!!!

8:24AM PST on Nov 21, 2012

always read the fine print and ask what the papers are. i am sooooo sorry for their loss. i would be devestated and outraged. OMG. thank god i have a wonderful vet. and we dont sign anything .they put it in computer and then write it on the file. most good vet hospitals ask and consult w/ pets family first as i have worked for vets. you are in my thoughts .. conlon family. nothing can turn around what has been done, but personally i would do whatever to make the vet pay in more ways than one.. god bless

6:22PM PST on Nov 7, 2012

My sympathy goes to this family. Losing a cat is horrible. My partner signed papers one time, but it only resulted in being charged twice for tests.

11:45PM PST on Nov 6, 2012

So sad. :(

11:13PM PST on Nov 6, 2012

Horrible! My heart goes out to the Conlon family

2:38AM PST on Nov 5, 2012

I find it hard to believe someone wouldn't ask why they were doing that.

1:29AM PST on Nov 5, 2012


2:46AM PDT on Nov 2, 2012

Was this place a vet or a slaughterhouse????? Wtf, what kind of stupid "vet" euthanizes a HEALTHY cat???? This is a police case, a paper doesn't replace a health diagnosis, a signed paper doesn't justifies this kind of crime...

8:51AM PDT on Oct 19, 2012

how terrible BUT the vet was largely at fault here.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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