FILE: A B.C. woman had to pay $384 for veterinary care after her elderly cat went missing. (Darren McDonald photo)

B.C. woman on the hook for vet bills she didn’t approve while cat was in shelter

Owner had to pay $384 in vet bills before her cat could be released

A B.C. woman must pay for veterinary bills for care that she did not consent to her cat receiving, the Civil Resolution Tribunal has ruled.

On September 13, 2021, the woman’s cat Zuki went missing and was later turned in at a Coquitlam animal shelter. Shelter attendants immediately brought Zuki to a private veterinarian for an examination.

The 15-year-old cat was dehydrated, showing signs of leg weakness and frailty. Veterinary records show Zuki was given an exam, x-rays, a fluid bag and medication for $384. The owner did call the shelter to see if Zuki was there and argued that she should have been released immediately. But Zuki was already in veterinary care when the owner called.

When the owner came to pick up Zuki, the shelter wouldn’t release the cat until the vet bill was paid.

The owner argues that Zuki was not in distress and did not need urgent veterinary care, she was just elderly. Zuki was euthanized shortly after.

Tribunal member Micah Carmody found that Zuki was in distress. Coquitlam bylaws require owners of “impounded animals” to provide pay any charges related to the impounding and care of the animal.

Carmody ruled that the veterinary charges stand, however, he credited the owner $13.91 for a return of buprenorphine because Zuki had been euthanized and no longer needed it. The owner was also awarded tribunal costs at $62.50.

READ MORE: Owner’s noisy charge saves 14-pound dog from B.C. cougar attack


@SchislerCole
cole.schisler@bpdigital.ca

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