Pet Leasing Company Treats Dogs Like Expendable Products
Earlier this year, Seattle DogSpot broke the story that Hannah euthanized 3 adoptable dogs rather than offer them back to the shelters they came from or provide the care/support that they needed to be adopted.
In case you haven’t heard of Hannah the Pet Society, it was founded in 2010 as a pet leasing company. Here’s how the original model worked:
Hannah used its pet matching service to find a pet for you based on the information you provided.
Once you selected your pet, you signed a contract saying you would pay Hannah a monthly fee for the duration of the animal’s life. It also says Hannah retains ownership of it.
In exchange for the fee, Hannah provided all veterinary care, food and supplies, and training/ongoing support.
Hannah the Pet Society Stops Leasing Animals
Hannah announced in April it would no longer source pets and place them with families. It still provides medical care, food/supplies, training/support for a monthly fee to anyone who enrolls in its program.
More importantly, pet owners must still transfer ownership of their pets to Hannah before they can enroll in the program.
Hannah is still the ultimate arbiter regarding their dogs’ medical treatment.
Virtually since its inception, Hannah has been dogged by numerous complaints from unsatisfied customers. People have filed complaints about Hannah with the Oregon Veterinary Medical Examining Board.
The company is also under investigation by the Department of Justice.
In their interviews with KGW, the former Hannah employees said the company:
- euthanized at least 12 other adoptable dogs
- kept pets in unsanitary conditions
- failed to treat preventable diseases
KGW said it spoke to 7 of the owners of the euthanized dogs.
All of them said the dogs should not have been euthanized.
Parvo Outbreak Linked to Unsanitary Conditions
Some of the employees told KGW that Hannah often kept dogs in unsanitary conditions and confined them for long periods of time. They believe the dirty conditions contributed to the deaths of at least 23 puppies from the highly contagious gastrointestinal virus called parvovirus. The virus can be prevented with a vaccine, but the former employees said the puppies weren’t always vaccinated.
I’ve written numerous times that I don’t like the idea of renting pets because it reinforces the concept that pets are expendable.That’s a big reason whyso many dogs end up in shelters.
I also contend that Hannah’s rent-a-pet model is inherently flawed. Its primary function is to make money. The dogs are simply pieces of inventory subject to a cost/benefit analysis to determine their profitability.
Since Hannah is the legal owner of the dogs, I believe that decisions about their dogs’ health are based primarily on what’s most profitable for the company instead of what’s in the best interest of the dogs.
Buddy’s Sad Story
That’s what appears to have occurred with Buddy, the Boston Terrier KGW highlighted in its story. Here’s a brief summary of what they reported:
July 5 – Hannah diagnosed Buddy with a tumor about the size of a golf ball on his prostate. An ultrasound couldn’t determine if it was cancerous.
July 8 – Hannah said the first ultrasound was inconclusive and the only person qualified to run the ultrasound machine wasn’t available until July 18.
July 11 – Buddy was shaking and couldn’t urinate. His owner took him to Hannah but staff told the dog was “just nervous.”
They sent Buddy home but that night, he got even worse.
His family called Hannah’s 24-hour hotline to report Buddy’s condition, but staff told them “it wasn’t an emergency.”
They then took Buddy to an ER where vets said he needed an emergency catheterization.” Hannah’s response? ‘Take as much urine out of him as you can with a needle and bring him into Hannah at 9 a.m.”
The vet treating Buddy said, “That’s not the standard of care I would recommend.”
Hannah eventually authorized the procedure and told the family to bring Buddy back in the morning. Instead, they took him to another emergency vet who performed an ultrasound immediately and discovered Buddy had inoperable cancer.
Buddy’s family decided to euthanize him rather than take him back to Hannah again.
“Hannah definitely gave us poor veterinary care. We should have known he had prostate cancer earlier. He should have received treatment earlier,” one of Buddy’s owners told KGW. “There was a lot of pain involved in his ending that didn’t need to be there.”
Profits Over Pet Health
Buddy’s saga illustrates what can happen when Hannah prioritizes profit over a pet’s health. Not only did his owners have to deal with their beloved dog’s serious illness, they also had to fight Hannah’s bureaucracy to get Buddy the medical treatment he needed.
Buddy’s family has little legal recourse against Hannah because the company was the dog’s legal owner.
Hannah issued a statement regarding KGW’s report that called it “factually inaccurate.”
I might believe that if only a few people filed complaints regarding how Hannah treats its pets.
But in my opinion, the number and similarity of the complaints about Hannah’s business practices shows the company has exhibited a regular pattern of behavior indicating it’s more concerned about its bottom line instead of the welfare of its animals.