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My Vet Has Hired "Thugs"; Shakes down pet owners...

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posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 09:21 PM
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I'm writing this thread because at times this website has become my own venting board for all that I see around me. The following happened to me just two days ago, and I was wondering if anyone had any advice for me, as well as any other stories of such behavior.

I was at work on Monday evening, when my brother called to tell me my cat was really sick. Like, not moving at all, not breathing right, kind of sick. Now for those of you with pets, you know that this is a big deal for me. Well, I left work, seeing as I have the only car in the house, and rushed home to grab my cat. As soon as I picked him up, he defecated all over me, and wasn't moving. I knew he was really sick, and rushed him to the car and on to the freeway. The fires meant that I couldn't take him to my normal, (and quite wonderful) vet, so I was forced, at 10:30 pm, to take him to the 24 clinic in Santa Barbara. (I won't use names due to possible future litigation)

Well, I had called ahead, and as soon as I got there, the person at the desk called for a vet. The vet took the cat from me, (which was covered in it's own diarrhea) and walked into a side room.

Next, the man behind the desk needed me to fill out some paperwork. More important than anything else (medical history, symptoms, diet) the clerk kept pushing this paperwork that made sure I assumed responsibility for the cost of the care. I kept trying to fill out the paperwork for the animals history, and finally, signed the pay form.

The clerk then picked up the phone and called the vet, authorizing them to BEGIN care on my animal.

I sat down and waited, and about a half an hour later, I was shown to a room where I was told to wait for the vet.

The vet then came in, and asked a few questions about my pets diet, and then began to show me an itemized bill for the presumed care of my cat. It was an astonishing 1500 dollars, but I agreed, thinking that I could work something out for a couple weeks.

The vet then left, telling me that she would let me know more when they knew more.

2 hours later, after 1230 in the morning, I was again show to the vet, who proceeded to tell me that they had done blood work three times, x-rays, and wanted to do a sonogram. I was told the cat had to stay overnight, and then something weird again happened. After just thee minutes of talking about my cat, basically telling me they knew nothing, the vet proceeded to talk to me for 25 minutes about each and every charge on the bill. At the end, I asked to see my cat, before I went home, and the vet said yes, as soon as I paid my bill.

So I went out to the clerk, and was told to pay 1539.00 dollars. And they still knew nothing about my cat being sick. In over three hours.

I told them that at 1 in the morning, I was unlikely to be able to give them all that money, but could return in a couple of hours, after the bank opened.

I was told that I could apply for a credit card from them.

I told them that was stupid, as their rates were 22%.

I told them I had 150 in cash, and would leave my I.D. as collateral. I also have a three year work history at the nicest resort in town.

Not good enough. Could I call a friend? Maybe a relative?

No, I am not waking up people for this. Why can"t I just come back?
I asked the man, what would happen if I just left, would he try to tackle me? would they let my cat die?

That was when things got interesting. The man said he would be right back, and left. I waited, and then he returned, with a young man who quickly identified himself as a former recon Marine. I said we had some things in common.
The guy then positioned himself near me, staring me down. The other clerk said he had to try a credit card or no dice.

Thats when I realized what the f was going on. I was being shook down, and they had my pet as hostage.
When my credit failed, (actually don't know why on that one) a vet came out and explained that there were two treatment options;

One was that I came up with the money.

The other was euthanizing.

I explained that I had a hundred and fifty dollars.

They had a short pow-wow, and then agreed , as long as I returned the next day.
at that point, the "goon" left and never came back.

I was allowed to see my cat, who was still covered in his own feces four hours later.
I left, and got up early the next morning to get the money together. When I called, the said that my cat had a fever of unknown origin, and that I could take him home. I asked the bill, saying that I could only get him at 3 pm, and they responded with 800 dollars, less my deposit.
I showed up at three, and they had raised the fee by 150 dollars, neglecting to tell me of the hourly fee tacked on. ($40 per hour)
I paid them, and they returned my still poop covered cat, and told me I could go home. I told them I was taking him to my regular vet, and they faxed over the records to them.

Well, when I got to my vet, they were shocked at the fact that the other vet had done EVERY test they could, except the most OBVIOUS one. The fecal matter test.

My vet ran the test, and within twenty minutes of seeing my cat, had found the problem.
If I had taken my cat home, I would have been forced to return, mysteriously, in the middle of the night. When they were the only ones that operate that late.

Now my vet says that they charged me for hourly blood tests, on the SAME blood sample.

Isn't this the same as a mechanic that rigs your car to blow parts?

I feel pretty scammed, and the thousand dollars it ended up costing, (958.37 to be exact) was a waste, as my vet actually has to fix him.

Thanks for letting me vent, as the three main problems I have are the thug, the option to euthanize, and he fact they never actually followed procedure, as my vet says.

Can anyone help me with this? Have any similar stories?

I feel like that sexist idea from the 70's of a woman in an automotive shop.
Except I'm a layman at the vets.



Edit to add adorable photos of the victim.


[edit on 10-7-2008 by jasonjnelson]




posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 09:36 PM
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Did you write a check? and would your vet back you up?


If so and it isn't too late to stop-payment, I would call my bank and stop-payment first of all, call them and let them know the circumstances.

As long as your vet will back you up, take that money and put it to an Atty, to handle any litigation, by you, or the negligent vet.



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 09:38 PM
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Why don't you make up a sandwich board with a short version of your story and picket out front. When customers come up you can have maps of the other clinics printed up. That and a statement from your vet that they did such incompetent work at exorbitant prices. Don't forget the extortion/implied threat.



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 09:41 PM
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I have taken my pets to the 24hr emergency vets several times and I find that you can't get out of there for under $500.

Vets do have a racket, and they know you are stuck paying it. I used to be able to get my dog's teeth cleaned for $150, which included putting them under, bloodwork and all. Now I am in a different state and my vet here wanted $800 (which I didn't do btw)! It is highway robbery.

I should have been a vet...



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 09:46 PM
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WTF , i would have burned down the clinic



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 09:46 PM
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jason, I feel for you. Nothing is worse than when a pet is in trouble and the vet you know and trust is closed.

I second what JackKat said. I would also do something similar if you used your credit or debit card. Contact the local Better Business Bureau ASAP.

In some ways, you might also want to discuss this matter with the local police.

I would definitely contact a lawyer. I am not sure if there is malpractice with pets, but I think their must be. You can't be held responsible for documents signed under illegal imprisonment or duress.

I am not a lawyer or anything like that, but someone who doesn't like getting shaked down!
Best of luck to you and your cat!
DocMoreau


+2 more 
posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 09:53 PM
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Take them to court, Sue for fraud and tripple damages, Make the damages include their bill to you, plus everthing you can legitimately tack on. Gas wear and tare on vehicle, Hours for your time, including the preparation for the case.

I would throw in emotional stress for yourself and the patient just for a laugh. If you win, take half and use it to advertise what they did, like put it on a billboard across the street from them. Mailed handbills to their neighborhood, hire people to hand flyers out in front.

[edit on 9-7-2008 by Cyberbian]



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 09:58 PM
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reply to post by DocMoreau
 


Unfortunately, I paid with cash, as my account was emptied by the transmission that I had to get last week. My car is a whole other story, and I almost did wear a sign to protest the lemon they sold me. (6,000 in repairs in the three months I've owned it)

But I actually think I may have a malpractice suit this time. It was a rather helpless and sobering experience.

I know some of you know about my fetch playing cat. He's pretty frickin awesome.



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 10:01 PM
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reply to post by JacKatMtn
 


My vet is worried about saying anything slanderous, due to her business relationship with hem. However, she is noting all of the problems, and "irregularities", and I'm sure would take the sand. I'm still waiting for her so i can make a proper decision. The whole "euthanizing" thing really, really bothered me.


I forgot the best phrase that the daytime receptionist said. When I told her that the above^ really bothered me, she said that they were a business, and "owning a healthy pet is a luxury".

[edit on 9-7-2008 by jasonjnelson]



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 10:03 PM
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What a crazy story... where the hell is this place btw?



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 10:06 PM
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reply to post by hikix
 


I don't know if I am allowed to say on this site.

It's in Santa Barbara though.
My (good) vet is in Goleta, where the fires are.

[edit on 9-7-2008 by jasonjnelson]



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 10:09 PM
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Wow, I'm shocked.

Isn't there some sort of veterinary licensing board at the state level?

Head over to pets.ca forum and tell everyone there what happened. There's a vet on the forum who's pretty good and might be able to lead you where you need to go legally. He's from Arizona but still might know some contacts in your state.

Other members there might also be able to help you find a really good vet.

I like mine, he's pretty honest and always talks about prices before he does something and then wants a signature. But he doesn't know squat about good food and is always trying to push the special vet food.

The taking the cat away from you and put into some room where you can't see... well that's just wrong.

Edit to add: Some pet medications are nothing more than human medications sold at a different strength. Whenever you have to get a prescription from your vet, ask that he/she write you a real prescription and get it filled at the people pharmacy. It will be much cheaper.

Edit again: If kitty has the runs and is cleared to eat normal again, get kitty some tuna or canned food and add extra water. Some cats don't like to drink water, so when the runs happen, extra fluid intake is ideal. If kitty gets dehydrated, there is a sub-cutaneous IV fluid treatment you can give at home which is pretty inexpensive. But a vet would have to show you how to do it.

[edit on 7/9/2008 by Ceara]



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 10:16 PM
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reply to post by Ceara
 


Thank you so much! I actually love my current vet, but won't use the name fr obvious reasons.
The people who held me and my pet hostage were a different vet. I will paste this message over there in a minute, see if I get a response. Thanks for your help...



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 10:20 PM
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Originally posted by jasonjnelson
reply to post by JacKatMtn
 

she said that they were a business, and "owning a healthy pet is a luxury".

[edit on 9-7-2008 by jasonjnelson]


In my opinion, if you do decide to sue, you should put that on a billboard near their practice. What kind of extortionist sickos are these people?

Also, their methods are a bit odd. I'm no vet, but if a cat came in covered in its own waste, a stool sample would be the first thing I'd do.



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 10:23 PM
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I wish I could help you out legally but unfortunately that's not my forte.

However I have had pets my whole life and have seen a lot, even assisted when they were giving birth. I've had rescue animals and I also babysit dogs in my home when people go on vacation.

There are some pretty knowledgeable pet health folks at that forum, and it's a very active place. Kinda female-heavy in the membership though. hehe



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 10:27 PM
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reply to post by drwizardphd
 


My vet was shocked, repeat, SHOCKED That they had not done that test first. It is the cheapest, and most obvious option. It would have been the first thing my vet would have done. The delay in care may yet kill my cat.


Edit to move cute photo to top of thread.



[edit on 10-7-2008 by jasonjnelson]



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 10:31 PM
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Awww what a sweet face.

Sending good vibes your way that everything will turn out just fine.



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 10:31 PM
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this is one reason i have health insurance for my pet. its realy cheap and well worth it.

ive taken my pet to an all night clnic in past (my regular vet is one) he is also specializes in hunting dogs. and the farm i worked on had 30 dogs and he was their vet. i must say never had this experince and the price wasent to much more than the average. of course this may be due to the fact that we are respected custmers.

what an a$$ though. i would sue..



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 10:32 PM
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reply to post by jasonjnelson
 


one more thing what was the problem?

that is if you dont mind me asking...



posted on Jul, 9 2008 @ 10:34 PM
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reply to post by DaleGribble
 


The main problem being, is that this particular vet requires that you leave the "high end " estimate of their care. Or they will not keep working on the pet. So insurance would still mean that I would have had to had the money up front, and then gotten reimbursed by my insurance. I only have insurance if he's in the car with me in an accident.




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