To clear up several misunderstandings among the readers of the June 12 2011 CBC website article on Rocky, I posted a comment that evening. I posted it again on Monday night. CBC has elected to not publish my comments online. OSPCA was given the opportunity to add a link to CBC’s article. That link brings you to a letter rebuking the article’s content. The CBC has not extended the same courtesy to me.
I am the veterinarian referred to. Let me clear up some missing facts. The owner’s morning routine was to feed and water Rocky, then lead him or carry him to the fenced-in backyard. It had a tree and an open garage containing a bed, toys, and water. Ms. Tramontin returned every night at around 5pm. You would expect neighbours to know this routine and volunteer this information. The Tramontin family loved Rocky: medical records over 14 years speak for themselves. The owners acted immediately to the note on their door, but were repeatedly stonewalled for information until an agent of city counselor Doug Holyday intervened days later.
OSPCA has to explain some things.
They knew nothing about Rocky. But by seizing him from his owner’s home, they owed Rocky a duty of care to proceed cautiously. They did not do so. They knew exactly where he lived, but did not contact the family. They didn’t scan him for his microchip which is in perfect working condition. We successfully scanned it while Rocky lay at the pet funeral home, Pets At Peace, on Queen Street. That chip number would have led OSPCA to St. Clair Veterinary. Their 10% dehydration judgment is based on a very subjective test. Even so, why didn’t they give him a low-cost bag of intravenous fluids? That’s standard procedure in all cases of dehydration. If he really was suffering in so much pain, why didn’t they give him a cheap painkiller? Rocky’s owner says she placed him on the ground that morning; he did not “collapse” from the heat. Rocky’s recent medical file notes tartar buildup and calculi on some teeth. There’s no mention of “severe dental disease”. They could have put Rocky in a cage on fluids and painkillers for a few hours while they telephoned the owner or us. That’s their job!
The Tramontin family took such exceptional care of Rocky that he lived to be 16. I last saw Rocky about two months ago, and he had an upcoming appointment in a few weeks. Yes, last time I saw him, he was scrawny, arthritic, had some bad teeth, and was sometimes incontinent. He had a few hind end problems, making it sometimes difficult to get up and about. So what? More than a few Canadians would fit that description. OSPCA is a registered charity. That’s it. Would we allow an organization that is not even an agent of the State to decide our own end-of-life based on those same criteria?