A Florida family is upset that their missing cat was euthanized at the shelter last month before they could trace her there, and without the grace period of a 3 day stray hold.
Lisa Storey understands why an Orange County Animal Services vet thought her 10-12 year old cat with a thyroid condition should be euthanized but wishes the shelter had waited for three days before putting her down.
Sofie, who’d been missing for a few days and wasn’t getting her thyroid medication during that time, was skinny like many cats with managed thyroid issues, and had some fur loss due to a flea problem that was being treated, so she didn’t look the picture of youth and health when she arrived at the shelter. She was too upset to eat in unfamiliar circumstances and was lethargic as a result of going without her thyroid medication.
Ms. Storey says that Sofie was seeing her vet regularly and was holding her own, and the decision to end her life would have been better made by her own vet and family.
Orange County Animal Services has a posted 3 day stray hold policy, but says that, especially when there are medical issues involved, the decision whether to keep a cat for the hold period is made on a case by case basis.
Sofie disappeared from hime when one of the Storey children left a door open and she got out. When Ms. Storey realized Sofie was missing she put up posters, searched her immediate neighborhood and one nearby, speaking to neighbors and knocking on doors. Sofie’s whereabouts for the time she was missing were finally traced to the home of a woman in the nearby neighborhood who lived in a house that resembled her own. The woman took her in for a couple of days but brought her to the shelter when she had to go out of town.
Sofie was euthanized the same days she came to the shelter. Ms. Storey called about her the next day and the day following that and was told no, her cat was not at the shelter. When it was determined that Sofie had been put down but could have been brought home alive if the shelter had only waited a few days, her petmom’s sorrow was magnified.
Worse, Ms. Storey had to tell her special needs son, who had a close bond with Sofie, that the cat was not coming home and was waiting in heaven for her family to join her.
Ms. Storey ends up in tears more than once while talking about Sofie’s fate in the two videos below from WFTV Channel 9, which covered the story.
Orange County Animal Services addressed the matter in a post at Facebook today, saying:
“We recently experienced a sad situation at our shelter. On February 20, a citizen brought in a senior cat that she found and had been taking care of for two days. Due to the cat’s poor health, she brought it into our shelter. The cat was very thin, not moving well and had hair loss, so the cat was scheduled for a veterinarian exam. Every animal, including this cat, is scanned for a microchip and checked for any signs of ownership by our staff. Unfortunately, this cat did not have a collar, microchip, or any other form of identification. When later examined by our staff vet, the kitty was noted to be emaciated and lethargic. Due to the cat’s poor health, our veterinarian made the call to humanely euthanize her to prevent her from suffering any longer. This is always a difficult decision to make, however, we must always keep the animal’s well-being in mind. We were heartbroken when we learned 12 days later that this kitty did have a family. We also found out this cat had thyroid disease and had gone days without necessary medication. One of our primary goals is to find loving homes for pets in need and to reunite lost pets with their owners. Orange County Animal Services receives approximately 53 cats and dogs each and every day (more than 19,300 annually), the majority of which are strays. An up-to-date microchip and a collar with tags are keys to ensuring a quick reunion if your pet is ever lost. We ask every pet owner to have their pet properly identified because you never know when your feline or canine companion may be lost. We offer microchipping services in our clinic, find out more about this HERE.”
Lisa Storey does an 8 minute interview with Channel 9 ,telling about her search for Sofie and the discovery that she’d been put down: