Dog-owner unwittingly signs away her pet during vet clinic visit

CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV Toronto’s Pat ForanPublished Wednesday, February 27, 2019 8:56AM EST

An Ontario woman says she regrets unwittingly surrendering her puppy to an animal rescue agency after she brought it in for an emergency procedure she couldn’t afford.

Debra DiPasquale says, 12 days after she adopted her three-month-old dapple dachshund Shiloh, the little puppy got into some of her medication.

“I see the pills and I’m like ‘Oh my God,’” she recalled to CTV Toronto on Tuesday. “There were pieces that were in chunks so I knew he had had them in his mouth and there were about five missing.”

DiPasquale said she thinks the pills must have fallen out of her purse and rolled under the couch where Shiloh found them.

The Oshawa, Ont. woman said she immediately rushed to the veterinary clinic where she was told the puppy required expensive emergency care.

“She [the veterinarian] was going to me, ‘This is going to cost you thousands and thousands of dollars,’” DiPasquale said.

Unable to pay for the veterinary clinic’s fees, DiPasquale said she signed some paperwork that she didn’t understand so her dog could receive treatment.

“After I signed it they said ‘You can’t see this dog anymore. You can’t know where it is. You can’t know he’s well.’ I said ‘What are you talking about? I want my puppy!’” DiPasquale said.

According to the veterinary clinic, DiPasquale forfeited ownership of her dog to a rescue agency when she signed the documents.

The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association told CTV Toronto in a statement that pet owners need to be aware of the costs of caring for animals. The organization said if money is an issue, surrendering the pet can be a good option to get them care in the case of an emergency.

“Pet owners should understand that they are transferring legal ownership of their pet to the shelter or rescue group, which will pay for any needed medical care and then seek to find the animal a new home,” a spokesperson for the association wrote.

DiPasquale said she has no idea where her puppy is now and she regrets surrendering it to the rescue group.

“I’ll pay for him. I’ll do whatever I can to get him back,” she said. “I miss him so much.”

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