POSTED: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - 6:27pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 2, 2010 - 7:38am
EL PASO--- A woman says Animal Service veterinarians let her take her lost pet home with providing much-needed treatment.
Maria Hernandez is furious.
She says, it all started two weeks ago when her orange tabby, Frankie, went missing.
She went searching and found him among the cages at the Northeast Animal Control Shelter days later.
"He looked like he had gotten in a fight. His face was all scratched up... He was limping," she said.
Frankie had a deep cut through his belly and in his mouth to the jaw bone.
"So I assumed, 'They have a vet there, he's received medical care.' The individual told me he was fine, so I said, 'I'll pick him up later today,' "she said.
But then Hernandez took him to her vet, Dr. George Gibson at Eastwood Animal Clinic.
We asked if Frankie looked like he had been treated before.
"I would say no," said Gibson.
So we talked to Animal Services Director Eddie Castro.
"We have a medical team that does the rounds, and this case they did not notice, that this cat had this cut on the belly," he said.
Castro said, there's a reason for that.
"The cat was running loose. It didn't have a micro-chip, and didn't have a tag. If the cat had a tag, around the neck, it would have been treated different than a cat that's just a feral cat," he said.
At the shelter, tame cats are treated with the possibility of being returned, said Castro.
But feral cats, like doctors categorized Frankie, are not examined with the same care because of the costs, said Castro.
Hernandez says she would have preferred her cat euthanized, than going untreated.
"I would have been upset, but I would have been more understanding if they would have put him down and told me why they put him down. Thinking he was a stray and no one was going to pick him up or what-have-you, than to know he was in pain that long and they did nothing about it," she said.
Castro said Hernandez should have followed the law, and hopes her experience will serve as a lesson to all pet owners to microchip and tag their pets.