Who should pay the bill?

@dawnald (84078)
Shingle Springs, California
January 7, 2010 10:58am CST
Here's a scenario that happened not too long ago with the cat rescue group that I volunteer for. The rescue center is inside a large pet store that also has a veterinarian inside. One day a pet store employee found a cat in the parking lot. It was friendly, so they picked it up, brought it inside and put it in one of our cages. Since it was friendly, appeared to be healthy and passed its FLV/FIV test, we agreed to take it in. It was adopted out, but then became very ill. The adopter brought the cat back to the store in the evening when our group was not there. The store took it upon themselves to bring the cat to the veterinarian on premises and authorize a number of tests. By the time our person called the vet back (about a 45 minute delay), the cat had apparently tested positive for parvo and been euthanized. If our group had had a say in the matter, the cat would have been taken to our vet, with whom we have an agreement and the bill would have been much lower. Who should pay the bill? My take on it..... If I had taken a cat that wasn't mine to a vet and authorized treatment on it, I would consider myself responsible for the bill.
8 people like this
22 responses
• United States
7 Jan 10
This is a hard one. If you take an animal to a place I think you should be ready to pay the price the place charges, on the other hand the fact that it was done without approval is a mistrust on their part. Has any negotiation been taken on this subject or is it all too new to have gotten that far yet?
2 people like this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Jan 10
The president of our group is negotiating with the store and I suspect we'll end up splitting the bill. She's not happy about it though as we were pressured to take the cat in to begin with and then when it turned up sick the store people were really nasty to us. They threatened to euthanize all our other cats if we didn't come evacuate them, and with almost no notice.
1 person likes this
@Orea15 (281)
• United States
7 Jan 10
It sounds to me like this was a no-win scenario. They would have been pissed if you didn't agree to take the cat, too.
2 people like this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Jan 10
Yeah it is somewhat a no win situation, which is why I suspect we'll end up splitting the bill.
1 person likes this
• Australia
7 Jan 10
It seems the whole thing is a mess and a no-win situation, either for the parties concerned or for the animals. I believe that when a person authorises treatment/service/work, be it for animals, people, cars, appliances or whatever, that person is responsible for the expenses.
2 people like this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Jan 10
yes, it's a bad situation indeed, and in this case, rather than the two parties focusing on who is right, I think it would be in everybody's best interest to agree to split the bill. But technically the person who authorized the treatment is responsible.
@callarse1 (4786)
• United States
7 Jan 10
It's called a business expense. Companies do that all the time. If they owe taxes (or get a refund), if they write it off as a business expense then they will lower the taxes they owe to the government or it will increase the refund that they receive. In the long run the company will recoup their costs. I'm sure if they dog's owner wants to pay the company will accept payment, but I don't see how they can demand payment if the dog was abandoned and treatment wasn't approved by the owner. Sorry.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Jan 10
The dispute doesn't involve the person who returned the cat, only the vet who wants payment, the store that took the cat to the vet and the rescue organization that the person adopted the cat from.
@Orea15 (281)
• United States
7 Jan 10
I have to agree with you. You didn't authorize the visit to that vet, you took the cat in out of the goodness of your hearts. I don't know the legalities involved, but this just doesn't seem right.
2 people like this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Jan 10
Nope it doesn't. Probably to keep good will with the store, there will be some agreement to split the bill.
1 person likes this
@rusty2rusty (6760)
• Defiance, Ohio
7 Jan 10
Personally, Ithink whom ever took it to the vet should be responsible to pay the bill. Not your group. As you never gave the vet permission to treat the cat. They also know you have another vet you deal with. So to me what they done was very under handed of them.
2 people like this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Jan 10
Not only underhanded, but they were very, very rude. Not only when the cat got sick, but when the first pushed up to take it in.
1 person likes this
@callarse1 (4786)
• United States
7 Jan 10
1) The pet owner took the cat back due to not wanting it OR for treatment? You failed to answer that. That answer will totally depend on my answer, so I will answer it both ways. If the owner took it their and abandoned the cat (i.e. no longer wanted it) then they shouldn't be responsible for any charges made by the veterinarian group, sorry. If the owner took the cat to the veterinarian group and expected treatment, YES, the owner is responsible for the charges.
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Jan 10
the owner brought the cat back because it was sick but it was the store that authorized the treatment
1 person likes this
@callarse1 (4786)
• United States
7 Jan 10
That really didn't answer my question. So, did the owner abandon the pet or not? Did the owner authorize treatment? What did the owner say when he called? If the owner didn't sign and/or authorize treatment then I don't see how you can expect the payment.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Jan 10
The owner returned the cat. they didn't own it any longer. and the dispute doesnt' involve that person at all. The dispute is between the rescue organization that adopted the cat out and the pet store that took the cat from the owner and gave it to the vet and authorized treatment.
1 person likes this
@sid556 (30988)
• United States
8 Jan 10
Whoever brought the cat to the vets should be the one to pay the bill would be my thought on the situation. They should have called YOUR vet first and given your vet a chance to respond before calling in another vet. There should be a policy set in place in advance for situations like this. I'm sure the person who took it to the other vet was simply trying to please an upset customer. I can kind of see both sides.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
Trying to please an upset customer and also it was getting really close to closing time when it happened.
1 person likes this
@sid556 (30988)
• United States
8 Jan 10
aahhh...close to closing meaning they were probably making hasty decisions in hopes of getting out of there quickly? I just read back thru this discussion and see that there was a 45 min. delay in your vet getting back to you on the situation? That is not a long time at all. They should have taken the cat and advised the customer to go home and assure him that they would call as soon as they had some tests done and results back. They should have given your vet a chance to respond and it sounds as if they didn't do that. I'm really leaning towards it being their responsibility to pay this bill. At the very least, for the sake of peace, you should pay only what it would have cost you had your vet done the same work and let them take care of the difference.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
I think in the interest of good will (and because the store could theoretically kick us out of there if they wanted to), that we should offer to either split the bill or, like you said, only pay what it would have cost us at our vet. Yeah, I'm sure they were making hasty decisions based on it being close to closing time. Oh well...
@JenInTN (27546)
• United States
7 Jan 10
I agree...once a pet is adopted it is the owner's responsibility. Especially if they decide to take it to an outside vet.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Jan 10
In this case, the owner didn't authorize treatment, the store did. The owner was bringing the cat back (permanently I assume) because of the illness.
1 person likes this
@callarse1 (4786)
• United States
7 Jan 10
Oh I see, so I definitely agree with what I said above, the owner shouldn't be responsible for the bill. Let's put it this way. I don't have any children, but say I have a kid that's two years old. I take him to my city office to enter for adoption. I sign over my child to the city. Therefore, I am not responsible for any more expenses or charges. Let's say a mother has her baby at the hospital BUT states to the hospital she doesn't want the baby. She can give it to the city for adoption. Therefore after the adoption she won't be responsible for any more costs or bills. I believe the same thing applies to the doggie, the owner isn't responsible, sorry. The company will just have to write the bill as a business expense on their taxes.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Jan 10
The company being the pet store? Because it wouldn't be the vet....
• United States
7 Jan 10
Hmm...I would think that since your rescue group did all the test before they adopted out and all the tests came back negative, I think it should be the responsibility of the cat owner to pay the bill. But on the other hand if the cat owner didn't authorize the tests and just the store did I think the responsibility would fall onto the store... Did the cat owner authorize these tests? Is the cat owner fighting the bill?
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Jan 10
The owner returned the cat and the store authorized the bill. Parvo isn't something that is routinely tested for btw.
• United States
8 Jan 10
Oh I misunderstood....it should be the responsibility of the store since they are the ones to do the test without permission of your group. Yes I know that unfortunately parvo isn't something that can be tested routinely, I was actually talking about the FLV/FIV tests but since the owner returned the cat that would then put the responsibility on the store since they authorized the tests.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
I'm pretty sure the store is responsible, legally at least...
@jesssp (2739)
• Canada
7 Jan 10
Whoever initiated and authorized the treatment should pay the bill. You can't take your car to the shop and then just tell them to send the bill to someone else. Kind of a backwards analogy but much the same. My point is you can't expect someone to pay for something they didn't order.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Jan 10
I agree, but in the interest of peace with the store mgmt., I wouldn't be surprised if the bill gets split.
@jesssp (2739)
• Canada
7 Jan 10
At least a split is a compromise, better than them totally refusing to own up.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Jan 10
Yeah, of course I don't know if the store is even willing to do that. But they ought to.
@EvrWonder (3577)
• Canada
8 Jan 10
I agree that if someone took my cat and took it to a vet, authorized treatment and then tries to stick me with the bill, I'd frankly tell them to stick it where the sun don't shine. Since I never authorized any work order, services or vet treatments, period! Wouldn't even stand up in court. They should pay!
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
No, I'm sure it wouldn't stand up in court. Still, if it were kindly intentioned and necessary, I'd probably pay in that situation.
@EvrWonder (3577)
• Canada
19 Jan 10
Hi dawnald, Good Point, thanks for your comment. I suppose if I were on vacation and someone was house and pet sitting and an incident occurred where the animal had to have veterinary care, i would be obliged to pay the bill, thanking the sitter for taking action. It would really depend on the situation as a whole.
• United States
15 Jan 10
that's a hard call-sometimes if the animal is ill enough,you can't wait for normal channels.. i would say the adopter is,but i'd expect a possible to-do to be made about "adopting out an ill animal" from the person even though it passed the normal spectrum of adoption tests.i'm not saying it's right,it's just people are trigger happy with the suits nowadays.
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
15 Jan 10
I bet "adopting out an ill animal" is why the pet store doesn't want to take responsibility too...
1 person likes this
@paula27661 (15898)
• Australia
13 Jan 10
I would say that if someone finds a pet and surrenders it to the shelter then he or she will not be responsible for any treatment the animal may require. In this case the owner should not be required to pay a higher bill just because the store decided to take the cat to another veterinarian! It is a difficult one because everybody seems partially responsible, perhaps the bill could be shared...
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
13 Jan 10
It's between the store and the rescue group now, I believe.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29154)
• United States
11 Jan 10
Hi, dawnald. In my opinion, the pet store employee should be the one to have to pay the bill. If they were the one to authorize treatment on this cat, then they should be responsible for paying for the bill. It is sad that the cat contracted Parvo. This is sad, I feel so sorry for the poor cat.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
11 Jan 10
I feel bad for the cat too, but I'm happy that no other cats caught it.
@MsTickle (25055)
• Australia
10 Jan 10
Why didn't the person who adopted the cat take it to the vet??...that's a bit poor. I agree with you that whoever authorised the vet to look at the cat especially since it was the wrong vet, should pay. I also think the vet was in the wrong to take the cat in for testing when they know you guys use your own vet.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
11 Jan 10
I think the person who adopted the cat was bringing it back. And we take them back, but then we don't let the person adopt again, figuring if they can't afford to take the animal to the vet, they can't afford to own one.
@gabs8513 (48710)
• United Kingdom
10 Jan 10
Well I agree that the Person who agreed the Treatment should also pay the Bill as they authorized the treatment
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@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
11 Jan 10
Yep, they did...
• Canada
8 Jan 10
Your group should, if your group found the kitty and your group adopted the kitty out without running the necessary test on the kitty. Your group is responsible for adopting a sick kitty out. Once you adopted the kitty out, whoever adopts the kitty is free to take the kitty to whatever vet they see fit. If the kitty is sick right after adopting and has to be put down, your group is responsible for the vet care.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
Nobody runs a parvo test that I am aware of. It's just too expensive, fairly rare in cats, not standard procedure. But I agree that the group has some responsibility (morally if not legally) and should agree to pay at least part of the bill.
@sacmom (14250)
• United States
8 Jan 10
I have to agree with you Dawn. As the store took it upon themselves to bring the cat to the veterinarian that was on the premises and authorized a number of tests to be done as well, then the store should be responsible for the vet bill. Though at the same time if it's going to cause problems between the store and the rescue organization then maybe the rescue organization can pay for what it would have cost them through their own vet. Though not a penny more as the store did take it upon themselves to get this all done without consulting the organization first. I have to ask though, why was this cat adopted out so quickly? It sounds as though no one attempted to locate it's owner, if the cat indeed had one. Shouldn't that have been the first step to take when finding a stray such as this? Or is it normal practice to adopt out animals that may belong to someone else?
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Jan 10
Hm, well good question. The cat didn't have a collar and wasn't micro chipped. I don't know what, if anything, the group does to try and find the owner at that point.
@GardenGerty (118198)
• United States
7 Jan 10
They should have contacted the rescue group. However the store used their own protocol. I guess you guys should have split the bill. It might work to keep the relationship between them.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Jan 10
Yep. Although in my mind, the store was responsible for the bill the second that they authorized the treatment, in the interest of good relations we should split it. Although the store does have the upper hand a bit here as they can evict any rescue group that doesn't meet their "standards"...
@jillhill (37377)
• United States
7 Jan 10
Same here. I think whomever took it to the vet should pay the bill.....otherwise return it from where it came without making that sort of decision.
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Jan 10
I think the store was somewhat stuck in a bad position (partly of their own making) too, because the person who adopted the cat gave it back. Also it was late and by the time they did get hold of us, it was almost closing time for the vet. So, I'm thinking they authorized the payment because of the time deadline and not knowing what else to do and on the assumption that our group would pay for it. But they still should have cleared it with us if they didn't intend to pay the bill.
@savypat (20245)
• United States
7 Jan 10
I totally agree, we are each responsible for our actions, that includes costs
1 person likes this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Jan 10
I wonder if the nice pet store manager agrees with that. :-)