Tammy and Maddy Are Forced to Pay the Ultimate Price after Their Owner and an Incompetent Veterinarian Elect to Play Russian Roulette with Their Lives
"When my partner walked into the vets and saw Maddy standing there, he asked the nurse straight away where Tammy was. Her face dropped and she said, 'Are you sure that's Maddy'?"
-- Mandy Raab
Just as there are some callous and mercenary individuals who do not have any business owning cats, there likewise are any number of grossly incompetent and greedy veterinarians who should not be allowed anywhere near animals, let alone to minister to their health needs. Thirty-six-year-old Mandy Raab and her common law husband, Paul Saxton, from Dukes view in Donnington, outside of Telford in Shropshire, are classic examples of the former whereas Wrekin View Vets in Wellington, Shropshire, is a poster surgery for the latter.
This horror story featuring uncaring owners and incompetent veterinarians began last December when Raab adopted a pair of tuxedoes named Tammy and Maddy from a shelter. (See photo of them above.)
Everything appears to have gone pretty much as planned until Maddy came down with an unexplained ailment in one of her legs. "Maddy's leg had started to get very bad," Raab told the Daily Mail on June 17th. (See "Woman Sends Two Cats to the Vet When One Falls Ill...and He Puts the Wrong One Down by Mistake.") "She couldn't jump up or climb on anything, and she got to the point where she couldn't even stand up without falling over again."
Somewhere along about the first week of June, Raab and Saxton dropped off both cats with Wrekin View to be sterilized. After examining Maddy, the vets astonished Raab by informing her that the cat's leg was in such bad shape that she could not be allowed to go on breathing for another day and therefore had to be immediately killed.
"I cried when the vet told me the kindest thing to do would be to put her down," Raab told the Daily Mail. "But I took comfort in knowing that I would still have Tammy, and I knew I had to be strong for her because she would miss Maddy." (See photo of her and Saxton below.)
After unconscionably signing Maddy's death warrant, Raab dispatched Saxton in order to retrieve Tammy but upon arrival he was shown Maddy instead. "When my partner walked into the vets and saw Maddy standing there, he asked the nurse straight away where Tammy was," Raab related to the Daily Mail in the article cited supra. "Her face dropped and she said, "Are you sure that's Maddy'?"
Saxton was sure all right and so, too, should have been Wrekin View. After all, Maddy was the tuxedo with the bad leg that it earlier had decreed must die.
In spite of all of that, Wrekin View has fobbed off blame for this deadly mistake on an unidentified subaltern. "A staff member told me subsequently that a veterinary nurse had picked up Tammy by mistake when it was time for Maddy to be put to sleep," Raab told the Shropshire Star on June 15th. (See "Telford Vets 'Put the Wrong Kitten to Sleep'.")
None of that in any way exonerates the surgery's resident practitioners Richard Griffin, Rob Wilson, and Anya Klostermann because even if assistants are permitted to carry out executions they should be supervised by a qualified veterinarian. If, on the other hand, one of the veterinarians committed the foul deed that is even more inexcusable.
Monumental mistakes of this severity occur far more often than it is generally acknowledged. For example, Woosehill Vets of Emmville Close in Woosehill, Berkshire, recently allowed two cats to escape through windows and so badly botched a pair of routine sterilizations that they actually killed one cat. (See Cat Defender post of July 2, 2010 entitled "Lexi Was By No Means the First Cat to Be Lost by Woosehill Vets Any More Than Angel Was Their Last Victim of a Botched Sterilization.")
An unidentified veterinarian practicing in and around the village of Charford in Bromsgrove, Worcester, is so incompetent that he is unable to tell the difference between a simple eye infection and the presence of a ball bearing. (See Cat Defender post of July 19, 2010 entitled "Molly Loses an Eye to an Assailant with a Ball Bearing Gun Only Later to Be Victimized by an Incompetent Veterinarian.")
Likewise, veterinarians at Northwest Animal Companions in Boise are so incompetent that they are unable to distinguish an upper respiratory infection from chemical poisoning. (See Cat Defender post of September 18, 2010 entitled "Another Kitten, Raisin, Is Horribly Killed in Treasure Valley but It Is Unclear Whether Yobs of Incompetent Veterinarians Are to Blame for Her Death.")
"I just howled in pain. I was distraught, no one could comfort me," Raab told the Daily Mail. "Tammy was a perfectly healthy ten-month-old kitten. There was no need for her to die."
After losing Tammy so tragically, any compassionate individual could have been expected to have changed her mind and spared Maddy life but that was not the case with Raab who went ahead and had her dispatched to the devil as well. Reading between the lines, it would appear that Raab lavished all of her affection on Tammy and had little or none leftover for poor Maddy.
"Tammy became my little girl. She used to follow me everywhere," she gushed to the Shropshire Star. It thus would seem that brown-nosing pays big dividends for cats as well as for humans.
Far too cheap, lazy, and uncaring to provide her cats with proper burials, Raab unsentimentally had their corpses burned. With no opportunity for any further screw ups, Wrekin View dutifully returned Maddy's and Tammy's ashes to Raab along with a memorial plaque.
As an added bonus, the vets gave her two kittens, one of which she promptly returned because it had contracted the flu. Its fate is unknown. The vets could have treated it or, being too miserly to do that, they may have killed it off like they did with Maddy.
In a sense Wrekin View treated Raab more generously than Woosehill treated Maria Brown of Woodley. In that instance, the vets attempted to fob off on her a rabbit after they had lost her cat, Lexi.
Thus, within the period of a scant few days Raab directly or indirectly was responsible for the deaths of at least two and possibly three cats. Yet, she not only is still walking the streets of Donnington but is allowed to adopt additional cats.
First of all, considering the high level of incompetence that exists within the veterinary profession, Raab never should have left Tammy alone with the vets. Veterinarians must be watched like hawks and forced to explain beforehand all procedures and drugs that they intend to perform and administer. Any veterinarian that is operating on the up and up will welcome the active participation of owners in their cats' treatment.
Secondly, Maddy deserved treatment, not a jab of sodium pentobarbital. In addition to traditional surgical procedures and physical therapy, hydrotherapy is now available to help paralyzed and crippled cats learn to walk again. (See Daily Mail, June 24, 2011, "Moggy Paddle! Cat Left Paralyzed after Car Crash Learns to Walk Again by Taking Swimming Lessons.")
Wheelchairs are another option for crippled cats. That was the route that Louise Broomhall of Seadown on New Zealand's south island decided upon after her beloved four-year-old cat, Blacky, was left paralyzed in his rear legs by a hit-and-run motorist in June of last year. (See photo below of her and Blacky.)
Moreover, prostheses are not merely for cats. For example, at Washington State University in Pullman a twelve-year-old, twenty-three-pound tortoise named Gamera has been fitted with a wheel in place of the left front leg that he lost to an injury. (See KOMO-TV of Seattle, July 20, 2011, "Amputee Tortoise Regains Mobility with Prosthetic Wheel.")
Experimental prosthetic implants are another option for cats fortunate enough to be owned by the well-heeled. (See Cat Defender post of November 20, 2010 entitled "Celebrated as the World's First Bionic Cat, Oscar Now Has Been Turned into a Guinea Pig with a Very Uncertain Future.")
In worst case scenarios, cats can get around just fine on three legs. (See Cat Defender posts of August 18, 2005, February 9, 2006, November 2, 2006, and November 28, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Brave Orange Tabby Cat Dubbed Hopalong Cassidy Loses Limb to Leghold Trap in British Columbia," "Newspaper Cat Named Tripod Is Killed Off by Journalists He Befriended in Vermont," "Three-Legged Bobtailed Cat Named Opie Melts the Hearts of Hardened Criminals at Rural Tennessee Prison," and "Natchez Politicians Pause to Remember Tripod on the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of His Death.")
Even those success stories fail to do justice to either the adaptability of cats or the magnitude of the crime perpetrated by Raab against Maddy. For instance, in Monmouth, Illinois, there is a kitten named Trace who only has two legs.
Even more amazing, Callie Mae of Theodore, Alabama, is doing just fine without any legs at all. (See Cat Defender post of November 17, 2010 entitled "Penniless and Suffering from Two Broken Legs, It Looked Like It Was Curtains for Trace Until Geoffrey Weech Rode to Her Rescue on His White Horse.")
Having conveniently absolved herself of all blame in Maddy's and Tammy's deaths, Raab now is making noise about filing a complaint against Wrekin View with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). So far, the organization's Ian Holloway has been less than enthusiastic about intervening.
"Allegations of negligence are usually resolved between the parties or by the civil courts," he schooled the Daily Mail. "There are occasions, though, when the alleged negligence is so serious as to be an issue of professional conduct. Where this appears to be a real possibility, we will investigate."
If past history is any guide, the only veterinary malpractice that the RCVS gets really riled up about occurs when members foolishly attempt to stiff the organization. For example, after Silke Birgitt Lindridge of Consett Veterinary Center in Consett, County Durham, nearly killed Heather Irwin's seven-year-old cat, Felix, by incorrectly setting his broken leg, the RCVS did act but it was not in retaliation for what she had done to Felix.
Rather, it suspended Lindridge for three months for failing to feed the RCVS's collection box. (See Cat Defender post of June 17, 2010 entitled "Veterinarian Gets Away with Almost Killing Felix but Is Nailed by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons for Not Paying Her Dues.")
Since Raab was far too stingy to have repaired Maddy's leg, it is extremely doubtful that she will be willing to foot the bill for a civil suit. Ergo, the vets at Wrekin View have little reason to lose any sleep unless, that is, their consciences are bothering them and that is highly unlikely.
"Our veterinary practice is built on mutual trust, respect, approachability and offers support, compassion and genuine care for your pet," the veterinarians declare on their web site. "Our whole team is ready to offer you advice to ensure that you are able to keep your pet as healthy as possible, using safe and effective preventative medicines and treatments."
The vets also make a big deal out of operating a small, independent surgery as opposed to being part of a chain, such as Medivet, Vets4Pets, Pets at Home, and CVS. Even that is problematic in that veterinary incompetence exists in both small as well as corporate surgeries.
Its price structure also is enlightening. For example, it charges £38.50 to murder a cat plus an additional £22.35 in order to burn its corpse.
A contract killing plus individual cremation costs a staggering £164.05. Although it is not exactly clear, Wrekin View's price structure seems to imply that it indiscriminately lumps feline corpses together and then burns them.
If that is so, there is not any way of determining which ashes belong to which cat without opting for an individual cremation. In this particular case, it is hard to imagine the tightfisted Raab springing for an individualized cremation.
By contrast, Wrekin View charges only £24.70 for an initial office visit while follow-ups range from £13.60 to £17.15. Cancer-causing implanted microchips sell for £16.99 whereas spaying costs between £48.50 and £55.30 as opposed to between £31.70 and £34 in order to castrate a tom.
Clearly, murdering cats and burning their corpses are very profitable components of Wrekin View's practice. In that light, it would be interesting to know just how large of a percentage of the veterinarians' practice that they actually constitute.
From both a medical and moral perspective, killing cats can never be justified except in the rarest of circumstances. Moreover, foul-ups, such as the one which claimed Tammy's life, are another compelling reason for outlawing this dressed-up brand of legalized murder.
In just about all instances, killing is an expedient chosen by owners who simply are too cheap and lazy to care for an ailing cat. Although they may blow considerable smoke about being unwilling to witness an animal suffer, in reality they are only thinking of their own convenience and pocketbook.
Being anything but dummies, veterinarians are aware of that fact better than anyone else and yet they willing hire themselves out as feline executioners. Worst still, there is neither any professional oversight nor sanctions imposed against veterinarians who commit these heinous crimes.
Also of concern is the hideous way in which veterinarians ruthlessly exploit office cats as blood donors and, in this case, as replacements when they screw up royally and kill patients by mistake. As is the case with the countless cats that they murder every day in cold blood, no humane group or governmental entity checks on the conditions under which these cats are illegally incarcerated. (See Cat Defender post of November 13, 2010 entitled "Christopher, Who Has Persevered Through Tragedy and Given Back So Much, Is Now Being Held Captive for His Valuable Blood.")
Even when they are not killing and exploiting cats with impunity the members of the veterinary profession pursue a policy of benign neglect, if not indeed outright hatred, toward the species and that is especially noticeable in their treatment of homeless cats. For example, the exorbitant prices that they charge for spaying and neutering is the number one reason that it is so difficult to reduce the population of homeless cats. (See Cat Defender post of February 23, 2011 entitled "Disabled Former Casino Worker Is Sent to Jail for Shoplifting Food in Order to Feed Her Twelve Cats.")
In the United States, the thoroughly reprehensible American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) regards homeless cats as being little more than vermin and has repeatedly called for their eradication. (See "Free Roaming Abandoned and Feral Cats" at www.avma.org and Cat Defender post of May 16, 2006 entitled "Kansas City Vets Break Ranks with AVMA to Defend Cats Against Bird Advocates, Wildlife Biologists, and Exterminators.")
Most egregious of all, very few practicing veterinarians are willing to treat injured and sick homeless cats. If they do not receive their money up-front, they gleefully stand idly by and watch them die. (See Cat Defender post of July 16, 2010 entitled "Tossed Out the Window of a Car Like an Empty Beer Can, Injured Chattanooga Kitten Is Left to Die after at Least Two Veterinarians Refused to Treat It.")
Photos: Andy Cunningham of the News Team and the Daily Mail (Tammy and Maddy), News Team and the Daily Mail (Raab and Saxton), and John Bisset of The Timaru Herald (Blacky and Broomhall).