Pet insurance calls after Accrington dog ‘put down as owner couldn’t afford vet bills’

A devastated dog owner has claimed a vet put her pet to sleep after refusing to treat the sick animal unless payment for her medication was provided in full.

June Connolly, from Accrington, also claims she was not allowed to see the dog, Sasha, before she was euthanized, nor did the vets allow her to take the dog’s ashes home.

Armac vets said it has not received any formal complaints from Ms Connolly and could not discuss individual cases.

Ms Connolly took Sasha’s sister, Sadie, to Armac vets in Bury on Sunday, July 24, after the 10-month-old presa canario fell ill.

Ms Connolly did not have pet insurance for either of her dogs, so Armac required an up-front payment before they would treat Sadie, which is common practice for vets.

She is now urging other pet owners to make sure they have insurance policies for their furry friends to avoid going through a similar heartbreak.

Sadie was taken ill first and is now recovering at home

Ms Connolly said: “We didn’t have the money in full so paid part of it and said we’d get the rest later.

“We managed to get enough money together to pay just over £2,500 to treat Sadie.”

Following tests, it was discovered that Sadie had canine parvovirus (parvo), a highly contagious disease spread from dog to dog by direct or indirect contact with their feces.

Parvo can be prevented by vaccination, but mortality can reach 91 percent in untreated cases.

While Sadie was being treated and appeared to be on the mend, Ms. Connolly’s other dog, Sasha, also fell ill, so on Thursday, July 28, she took her to the same vet, requesting treatment.

Ms Connolly said: “They took Sasha but said they wouldn’t treat her and we wouldn’t be able to take Sadie home unless we paid the bill for both dogs up-front.

“The total bill was £5,213.60.

“We had already paid £2,505 for Sadie and they wanted another £1,000 deposit before they would even begin to treat Sasha and allow us to take Sadie home.

“We didn’t have any money left, so my daughter’s boyfriend said he would take out a loan and we told them we would get the money to them on Monday, August 1.

“We told the vets we’d leave £500 and have the rest after the weekend, but they wouldn’t accept that.

“In total we were able to give £3,050, but they said they needed the remaining £2,163.69 before they would treat Sasha.”

Ms Connolly said she was placed in a position where the vet “wouldn’t do anything and wouldn’t let me see Sasha”.

And then, on July 30, Ms Connolly said the vets at Armac made the decision to put Sasha down, a move she claims she was told was done “in the best interests of the dog” as she was “suffering”.

However, Ms. Connolly said she was not happy with the way the situation was handled.

She added: “I wanted to go and see her before they put her to sleep but they wouldn’t let me.

“They wouldn’t even let us take Sasha’s ashes home as we hadn’t asked for them on the day she was euthanized.

“I know for a fact that Sadie was more ill than Sasha when we brought her in, and I know that if I’d been allowed to see Sasha, she would have perked up and known we were there for her.

“It was as if they were trying to say, ‘well if you don’t have the money to pay, we’ll have to put her down’.

“It wasn’t fair, we didn’t have the money up front, how many people do? But we were doing our best to get it.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Sasha, left, was put to sleep on July 30Sasha, left, was put to sleep on July 30

Ms. Connolly is now urging anyone who buys a dog, or has a dog and doesn’t have them insured, to take out a policy immediately.

She said: “It costs so much if you don’t have insurance; and we have now taken out insurance for Sadie.

“As far as Sadie goes, she’s been through a lot. She’s lost her sister and now she won’t go to sleep unless I’m there. She was so close to Sasha, and we are just devastated that this has happened.”

A spokesperson for Armac said: “We have not received a formal complaint from Mrs. Connolly.

“The sad death of a pet is always distressing, and we would like to extend our condolences to her and her family.

“Because of client confidentiality, we are unable to comment on individual cases, but we would be happy to discuss any concerns about the case with Mrs Connolly if she contacts the practice.”

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