Arizona Humane Society
December 29, 2011 by staff
Arizona Humane Society, Animal lovers threatened to pull donations to an animal rescue group and the public flooded the agency with scathing comments and calls after a man’s cat was euthanized when he couldn’t afford its medical care, prompting the Arizona Humane Society to go into damage-control mode Wednesday.
The group has hired a publicist, removed dozens of comments on its Facebook page and directed a team of five volunteers to respond to the overwhelming calls and emails it has received since The Arizona Republic published a weekend story about Daniel Dockery and his 9-month-old cat, Scruffy.
Dockery, a 49-year-old recovering heroin addict, told the Phoenix newspaper that he took Scruffy to a Humane Society center on Dec. 8 because she had a cut from a barbed-wire fence, an injury that he described as non-life-threatening. The agency said it would cost $400 to treat Scruffy, money he didn’t have.
The Humane Society cited policy when it declined to accept a credit card over the phone from Dockery’s mother in Michigan or to wait for her to wire the money. The staff said if he signed papers surrendering the cat, Scruffy would be treated and put in foster care, he said.
Instead, Scruffy was euthanized several hours later.
Dockery told the Republic that he was devastated.
“Now I’ve got to think about how I failed that beautiful animal,” Dockery said. “I failed her. … That’s so wrong. There was no reason for her not to be treated.”
He described the cat as helping him stay off drugs for more than a year, the longest he had ever been clean. He hand-fed the feline before she opened her eyes at 4 days old, giving her fresh tuna and letting her sleep on his pillow.
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