Vet euthanizes family cat by mistake

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SAND LAKE, Michigan (WOOD) – A cat named Shimmy was euthanized by mistake July 26 at a northern Kent County veterinary office.

Shimmy’s owner is devastated. She says it’s like losing a member of the family and that the accidental euthanization should never have happened.

And while it won’t bring her cat back, the people who run the vets clinic feel awful, too. They admit a mistake was made and are already changing procedures to prevent something like this from happening again.

Shimmy was a 6-year-old outdoor cat, according to his owners. When the cat started losing weight and refused to go outside, his owners called Sand Lake Veterinary Services to have him checked out. They explained Shimmy was hard to handle and were told that wasn’t a problem, and that he would be given a mild sedative before the exam.

They were in the exam room on Friday when Dr. Deirdre Hall gave Shimmy the shot. A few moments later, she explained Shimmy’s heart had stopped and he was dead. Shimmy’s owner became emotional, and confusion ensued.

Ken Hall is Dr. Hall’s husband and owns the clinic. He said the incident was the result of “a miscommunication.”

“My wife believed the family wanted the animal put down,” he said. “Upon putting the animal down, we realized the owners did not want that.”

But Shimmy’s owner claims Dr. Hall never checked the chart.

The Halls wouldn’t go into detail, but admit there was nothing to sign, and the two parties never had a clear conversation ahead of time about what procedure was being done. While the owners were thinking the doctor was administering a mild sedative, she thought she was performing a euthanization.

“Our goal is not to injure animals or kill animals. We want to save them and have everybody be happy and healthy,” Dr. Hall said.

The incident has prompted Sand Lake Veterinary Services to change its policy. All future owners will have to sign a consent form giving the doctor permission to euthanize their animal.

“The service is not what they were looking for and it’s very unfortunate,” Ken Hall said.

Sand Lake Veterinary Services does not have any past complaints or violations.

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