Dog Owner Sues Pet Leasing Company for Poor Veterinary Care
This Saturday, Hannah Society Exposed will hold a protest in Portland in honor of Buddy, a Boston Terrier whose owner claims he died due to poor veterinary care provided by Hannah the Pet Society (HPS).
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 select your pet, you sign a contract saying you will pay Hannah a monthly fee for the duration of the animal’s life.
In exchange for the fee, Hannah provided all veterinary care, food and supplies, and training/ongoing support.
Hannah No Longer Adopts Out Dogs
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.
Hannah Dogged by Compaints
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, and the company is under investigation by the Department of Justice.
According to Hannah Society Exposed, people filed 22 complaints about HPS . They filed another 34 with the Better Business Bureau.
Here’s a summary of Buddy’s story from KGW-TV. It’s similar to several others I’ve seen regarding HPS:
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. The only person qualified to do it wasn’t available until July 18.
July 11 – Buddy was shaking and couldn’t urinate. His owner took him to Hannah but was told the dog was “just nervous.” They sent Buddy home but that night, his condition worsened.
His family called Hannah’s 24-hour hotline to report Buddy’s condition. The person who answered the phone told them “it wasn’t an emergency.”
They then took Buddy to an ER where someone told them “Buddy’s bladder was about to burst and 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.”
Renting Pets Makes Them Expendable
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, so the dogs are simply pieces of inventory subject to a cost/benefit analysis to determine their profitability.
If you are in or near Portland, please attend this protest honoring Buddy and highlighting the shady practices of Hannah the Pet Society. It will be held from 12 PM – 2PM at Washington Square, 9585 SW Washington Square Rd. and Greenburg Rd. in Portland.