Man Charged With Cruelty After Failing To Treat Dog’s Glaucoma

Demetrius Wells, a Maryland man, has been charged with animal cruelty after authorities said he failed to seek medical care for his dog.

In November, a veterinarian diagnosed Wells’ pit bull with glaucoma and told him that the dog would suffer great pain if he wasn’t treated.

The veterinarian referred Wells to doctors who could treat his dog, but he said he could not afford the treatment and failed to treat the dog’s glaucoma.

In December, Wells’ dog was euthanized by animal control officers because the pit bull was in severe pain.

Wells was charged with animal cruelty and failing to provide necessary veterinary care.

Source: NBC4

41 Responses to “Man Charged With Cruelty After Failing To Treat Dog’s Glaucoma”

  1. poodluv says:

    I can’t imagine neglecting a situation like this if you truly love your dog.
    Or if you have a heart at all. I know first hand that this is a very obviously painful thing to watch your dog go through. Our rotti/chow mix had to have his left eye removed last year. His eye swelled and bugged out so bad that it was painful to LOOK at so its not something that you can just not see everyday and KNOW that there is something very painful going on for the animal. I did alot of research on it because we were so hesitant about having the eye removed. But when the eye was not responding to meds, and I kept reading about the horrible headaches that the eye pressure rising causes, we finally took out a loan and had it removed.

    And by the way…having the eye removed ended up alot less expensive than keeping him on the eye drops EVEN if the eye HAD responded to the meds. It is VERY expensive to treat glaucoma BUT there is a vet somewhere that you can find to work out payments for you.

    This man obviously did not try hard enough.

    By the way….since Buddy’s eye was removed, he was like a puppy again within just a couple of days after removal! At first we thought that he was sleeping alot because he was aging! Boy were we ever wrong! He was just IN PAIN! Its a shame that people dont realize how painful of a condition this must be until you do a little research. Thats what upsets me, the info is out there. If he was concerned about the dog at all then had he educated himself on the condition-if he really cared….he would have done SOMETHING no matter what the cost.

  2. Don Earl says:

    I’ve been working with a pet owner for the past several weeks in regard to suspected pet food problems and the possibility of a connection to a pet’s illness. The last I heard, she had spent over $6000 at the vet on testing and treatment, and the vet still can’t tell her what is wrong. She recently brought her pet home and as she put it, “They wanted to keep him but i am broke & still no diagnoses. I put him in God’s hands now.”.

    It would appear, from the standard used in the above article, this lady is now a criminal. Personally, I’d like to see a Constitutional challenge to some of these cruelty statutes with overly broad definitions of cruelty. As things stand, virtually any pet owner, no matter how caring, could find themselves facing criminal charges over something they have no control over whatsoever, depending on their finances and the medical problem in question.

    I also take issue with vets that use these statutes as a mechanism to extort exhorbitant fees from pet owners. Among other things, as far as I know, all vets demand cash up front. If the vet has the resources to cure the illness, and the owner can’t afford it, why isn’t the vet the one being cruel? Or the animal control officer that puts the pet down?

    And, what’s the message to pet owners? The bottom line is that any time you take your pet to the vet, you are potentially facing criminal charges of animal cruelty.

    I don’t believe pets should suffer needlessly from a lack of medical care, but I also don’t think reasonably caring pet owners should suffer needlessly when something comes up that is beyond their ability to do something about.

    This approach is dead wrong. The term “cruelty” should only be used in situations that involve malace. A different approach is needed when that isn’t the case.

  3. Hazel Chambers says:

    Don Earl

    Glaucoma when left untreated is horribly plainful. This dog was suffering.

    He was in great pain. Why is allowing this anything other than negligence and cruelty?

    Yes…it would be great if vets could do pro bono work…but if they don’t…then the owner needs to do what is best for the animal…and that is NOT letting the animal suffer.

    Would you want to be in great pain 24 hours a day …7 days a week.

    Responsible ownership includes getting our pets their needed medical care….and if we can not afford it……then caring enough to let the animal be PTS…not sufferer IF there is no chance for getting better.

    There was nothing caring about this woman who knew who dog was in protacted great pain and did nothing.

    Treatment is not that expensive. I cared for a dog with this condition and the treatment was a daily pill and drops….which did not cost that much here…although I do realize that vet care is far more expensive in some areas of the country. (I believe the pills were about $20.00)

    If she could not afford that….she can have had the eye extracted…..and if even that was too much….she could have had the animal humanely PTS.

    Allowing an animal to suffer needlessly is cruel.

    There are organizations such as UAN that will pay vet bills for indigent owners.

    I also work with a rescue that routinely helps out needy owners when asked….for example….a local person rescued a dog that hat been hit by a car….and was heart worm positive. This wonderful rescue is paying over $1,000.00 to take care of the dog for this woman….surgery…medical treatment…the full works.

  4. furmom says:

    I can’t agree with your logic Don . A pet’s owner takes on the responsability for their pet. If that owner cannot afford treatment, or cannot afford a very expensive treatment, or has spent lots but still can see their animal suffers, they have a responsability to relieve that suffering with a relatively inexpensive euthanasia. These decisions must be made daily, vets cannot treat the hundreds of pets for free or out of pocket. Otherwise they’d be out of business and not treating anyone’s pet. “Leaving it in God’s hands” is an abdication of the responsability that God put on US when we took on the care of an animal. Not that we should take what we want from an animal, and abandon it when it most needs care or permanent relief. If it comes to that, put the animal down humanely and THEN put it in God’s hands.

  5. mab says:

    If your child was diagnosed with a serious medical condition and you couldn’t afford treatment, would you just let them suffer?
    Of course not, you would get help or go into debt or do whatever you could to help your child.
    When you take responsibility for an animal, you should be prepared to make the same commitment as you would to a child. I’m not saying animal life is equal to human life, but many of the responsibilities are the same.

  6. The Lioness says:

    Hazel, that’s good information–about the organizations that help needy pet owners–however, maybe that information is not widely available? Also, it’s possible not all areas of the country have such services available?

    In this guy’s case, he’s in Maryland. I’m relatively sure there’s something available here.

    I sort-of agree with Don Earl, but that could be a dangerous thing: Cases of cruelty COULD be missed by such a law, and more animals could potentiall suffer. Something like that would need to be drafted and implemented carefully, and what about enforcement?

    In this guy’s case, I don’t see why he couldn’t have asked his friends, family, whatever–or taken out a small personal loan–to at LEAST have the eye removed. FFS!

    We have a beagle mix who has this condition, and I KNOW it is very painful! What this guy did WAS cruel. How hard is it to ask someone for help?

    ~The Lioness

  7. Toniann says:

    has it come to that if we do not have to money to take of our pets we will be charged with animal Cruelty


  8. AnimalLuvr says:

    Don - I think you are looking at this with a serious lack of perspective (and compassion). If you are a responsible and loving pet owner you will do whatever is necessary to get your animal taken care of. Whether it be putting it to sleep, surrendering it to someone or someplace that can take care of it, or coughing up the dough to care for it, then you do it and you bite the bullet.

    I hope this guy gets fined up the ying-yang and I hope you do not have any animals at home, Don. God forbid they need vet care one day.

    And by the way, would it be your Dr’s responsibility to treat YOU for free if you were diagnosed with such a condition?? I don’t think so. How dare you put the responsibility on a vet for not working pro bono?

    And Toniann - if you don’t have money to take care of your pets, then don’t get pets and surrender the ones you have to a shelter or a GOOD home.

  9. trucorgi says:

    I understand Don’s point and it is a good one. According to a more detailed local paper. http://www.hometownannapolis.c....._22-28/TOP The man took the dog to the vet. The vet did not treat him, he referred him to a specialist. Why didn’t the Banfield vet offer to put him to sleep, give him pain meds or remove the eye. It seems a specialist was not the only option in this case but the only one offered. The owners says he did follow up and could not afford a specialist so he took the dog to animal control a few weeks later to be put down. By this analogy, if my dog gets cancer and I opt not put him through chemo, I am a criminal in MD. I once fostered a rescue that had cancer. We just kept her and gave her pred., per my vet’s advice and when she stopped eating I took her to the vet to be pts. I wasn’t going to prolong her life with chemo or surgery. The vet advised against it considering she was 16. I once fostered another rescue dog that shortly after placement started having seizures. The new owner has spent thousands on specialists. She wonders if she is throwing good money away and going into hock for the sake of the dog or the sake of the vets. I consider her a very responsible owner and I did tell her she needs to ask the vet if this dog will ever have quality of life so that she can make a decision of how long to go on. The dog was given up due to allergies. Looking back I suspect they knew she was epileptic when they gave her up and didn’t disclose it. A lot of people dump terminally ill dogs in rescue and sometimes we don’t know they are ill until they are placed in forever homes and start showing symptoms. Is that fair to the new owners? I realize that glaucoma, cancer and epilepsy are different diseases but I think “failed to seek medical care” is a slippery slope and can not be a once size fits all. There is no easy answer here but I think we need to save harsh fines and jail time for real abusers, not people that get bad advice from vets, which could be the case here. We really don’t know, but are quick to label an owner an abuser without all the facts. Animal control is quick to jump to conclusions about all pit bull owners, but for now the owner is innocent until proven guilty of a crime. I am not convinced that this is a crime from what I have read about it do far.

  10. says:

    This is quite a mixed bag of thoughts, and I understand both sides. I understand Don’s POV and I also understand where the woman’s POV comes from. We as pet lovers will do the best for our pets when in time of need, if we are given the proper diagnosis. I have just experienced my kitty going thru an episode of cat gas. Now it sounds humourous, but I’ll tell you it is life threatening and if a proper diagnosis is not given, your cat will slowly detiorate. She stopped eating, and drinking, and it took 3 visits to the vet (and 10 days) to get a proper diagnosis. By this time she had lost over 15% of her body weight. Why? Gas is only detected thru an x-ray. The emergency vet diagnosed her as just being old as she is now 21. Nothing was physically wrong with her, and her blood work was normal. So, I understand someone saying ” I have put him in God’s hands now.” When you have tried everything possible, with no diagnosis ,no money left, and you are emotionally exhausted, a little bit of divine intervention can help. I believe that pet owners do the best they can with the circumstances they are given. However, does it make someone cruel if they choose not to continue treatment for a sick pet?
    I continued the treatments for my kitty who was affected by the pet poison in 2007, when she was on the verge of kidney disease. My best friend chose not to continue her treattments for her 10 year old kitty. My kitty is still here and her’s passed away. One can not judged why others do what they do or don’t do. All we can hope for is that they do the best they can with what they are given. Most importantly ,if a diagnosis is unsure,when in doubt get an x-ray. I hope that this information may help someone eles who may find themselves in a similar situation with no diagnosis.

  11. Linda says:

    Get over yourselves. I say leave the man alone. He probably feels bad enough as it is.

  12. Hazel Chambers says:

    If you get a pet…then YOU are responsible for the proper care…NOT the vet…not charitable groups….YOU are responsible.

    If he could not have afforded treatment, he should have done the humane thing and had the dog PTS then.

    What steps did he take to find other options? Did he seek another opinion?
    did he contact any humane groups?

    The eye was swollen and bulging out of its socket and the dog was bleeding from both the eye socket and the nose…and the dog was in great pain.

    What kind of person allows this to continue for several weeks??

    Certainly….catastrophic illnesses can happen that are out of the scope of our budgets…and when that happens….we need to care enough to let the animal go if we can not provide medical care.

    This man made the choice to let the animal sufffer…. for a few weeks and then took him to be PTS?

    Why did he wait???

    Whydid he not get another opinion?

    Failure to cease suffering is cruel

  13. Don Earl says:

    I appreciate the contrasting view points, but feel they fail to take into consideration the fact that not every pet owner is able to beg, borrow or steal the necessary for expensive medical treatments in the face of an emergency. What would you suggest? That every person acquiring a pet be required to post a $20,000 bond for emergency medical care before being allowed to own a pet? I can guarantee the kill rate for shelters will go through the roof if only rich people are allowed to own pets.

    There also seems to be a rather glaring double standard involved. The owner is being accused of being cruel for not getting expensive medical treatments for the pet, but the moment animal control acquired ownership of the pet, the pet was put down, because animal control wasn’t willing to spend the money either.

    And, as the first post points out, the expensive treatment recommended by a vet proved worthless and only served to prolong a pet’s suffering.

    A little live and let live is in order here. If compassion is the rule of thumb, it should be extended to the pet owner already faced with losing a pet he has loved and cherished all its life, caring for it even when buying food may have meant tightening his own belt because he isn’t rich.

    Cruelty comes in many forms. Insisting on treating an otherwise caring pet owner like a criminal is about as cruel as it gets.

    The guy did seek medical care for his pet. He did consult the specialists he was referred to. And, when he ran out of options, he took the pet to animal control where its suffering was ended. Maybe if he was rich, other options may have been available, but from the comments I’ve seen, the available options aren’t that great under any circumstances.

    Maybe prolonging a pet’s suffering with useless treatment, followed by painful surgery, followed by compromised quality of life is cruel. Who’s to judge? If you’re willing to put that kind of judgment in the hands of petty tyrants, are you willing to pay the price of being branded a criminal when it’s your neck on the line?

  14. Katie says:

    It doesn’t cost $20,000 to have a dog humanely euthanized before the dog is at the point where it has been suffering with an acutely painful problem for a significant amount of time.

    I have a dog who had an eye removed after he developed glaucoma in it. A dog doesn’t get to the point of bleeding from both eye sockets and the nose overnight. The owner failed to act on his dog’s behalf after he was told more than three weeks prior to taking the dog to AC that his dog’s situation was urgent. He instead allowed his dog to suffer.

    It’s one thing to not have the money to fix a problem and choose instead to end the dog’s pain. It’s another to allow the dog to suffer and not do anything.

  15. Cate says:

    Katie has a very good point. There are ways to make sure that the animal is no longer in pain - getting it treated is one, euthanasia is another. Doing nothing is simply not acceptable.

    I happen to be in the camp that if you can’t afford proper medical treatment for a pet so that it doesn’t suffer you shouldn’t own one.

  16. Don Earl says:


    I think you’ll find the instances where pet owners hesitate to put their pets down for days or weeks are very common. It isn’t because they’re cruel, evil and mean. It’s because they care so much they can’t bear to make the call. They continue to hope, beyond all hope, that somehow it doesn’t have to be that way. It may take them time to grasp the reality that waiting any longer is just making things worse. They may want to have just a few more hours or days before they have to say goodbye forever. They may need to feel absolutely certain that letting go is the only thing left to do.

    It seems to me there are those that while basking in the pretense of smug self righteous compassion for animals, are utterly without mercy or compassion for their fellows. You have no empathy for the suffering of others and live only to twist the knife in someone that is already hurting from the loss of a pet they care about. Perhaps this exhibition of cruelty makes you feel powerful. Personally, I find it disgusting.

    Leave people alone. Let them find their final answers in their own way, according to their own beliefs. Hope that when everything is said and done they are able to find peace.

    When a person has nurtured and cared for a pet all its life, and is faced with the hardest decision a pet owner ever has to face, it takes a particularly twisted, sick and perverted individual to treat that person like a criminal for no better reason than because they faced the crisis differently than you think they should have.

  17. KAEfamily says:

    “Don Earl says:
    February 25th, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    I think you’ll find the instances where pet owners hesitate to put their pets down for days or weeks are very common. It isn’t because they’re cruel, evil and mean. It’s because they care so much they can’t bear to make the call. They continue to hope, beyond all hope, that somehow it doesn’t have to be that way. It may take them time to grasp the reality that waiting any longer is just making things worse. They may want to have just a few more hours or days before they have to say goodbye forever. They may need to feel absolutely certain that letting go is the only thing left to do.”

    A 60+ year old friend of my aunt has an geriatric dog who is blind, deaf and barely walks due constant severe arthritis condition. The poor thing has been to vet numerous times and on all sorts of medications, but its owner adamantly refuses to put it to sleep because that dog has been with her through life’s ups and downs, i.e. poverty, two ugly divorces, etc. Does that make the owner a criminal to keep her pet alive in such a horrific condition? Isn’t the owner selfishly thinking of her own pain and not the well-being of her dog. Does she deserve to be a dog owner at all? I feel for the owner but I FEEL for the dog even more so.

  18. Don Earl says:

    RE: “A 60+ year old friend of my aunt has an geriatric dog who is blind, deaf and barely walks due constant severe arthritis condition.”

    I have a 60+ year old friend that isn’t in much better shape than this person’s dog. In spite of his health problems, he enjoys spending time with his special friends and as close as I can tell, does not want to be euthanized.

    Since the love that passes between your aunt’s friend and the dog happens behind closed doors, and is something you are not a party to, who are you to judge that it’s wrong? Leave them alone. It’s none of your business.

  19. mimi says:

    i had a stray cat came to me last year and there was something wrong with one of his eyes. i took him to the vet and they treated him a month with medication but unfornately didn’t work (i cannot have cats in my house as my mom is very allergic to cats so he stayed with the vet for a month). i then took him to a specialist and the vet said his eye has to be removed as he must be in a lot of pain so we went with the surgery.

    i cried for at least a day because of that but then a few days after the surgery he turned into a completely different cat, although he’s 7 years old he became very playful, i guess it’s a relief to him. he got adopted 3 weeks later by an elderly lady and living a happy life. i am still paying off my credit card after almost a year but i think it’s worth every penny.

    i am not here to take any credit but even though the cat doesn’t belong to me i think we human should try anything to help these poor souls. i would have taken him to the humane society if i couldn’t afford the treatment even though they might put him down.

  20. Todd says:

    Don Earl -

    A pleasant surprise to see your rational compassion for other humans. Most on this board seem to hold canine life as far more valuable than human life.

  21. Gindy says:

    Don, your 60+ year old friend can find many options to make his quality of life greater than a very old dog who has lost ALL senses that make a dog’s life enjoyable.
    Our first dog, GSD/Lab mix, came down with mouth cancer in her 10th year. We took her to a specialist at the Univ. of Cincinnati for evaluation. There was nothing they could do as the cancer was right under her brain and any treatment would have left her blind in one eye and with an unknown amount of brain damage. We chose not to treat her, even though it was free (part of a laser surgery on cancer study back in the day.)
    The day came when we knew it was her last. She looked perfectly healthy except for her eyes. The pain was so bad she could barely drink water. We let her go that afternoon.
    My vets now are the best. They are both of the school where you DO NOT let an animal suffer. Ever. I completely agree and feel that any human that allows any animal to suffer needlessly is not only selfish but cruel. Animals do not understand why they hurt and they look to us to make it better. When all treatments fail, the right thing must be done. Period. That is the utmost responsibility of a pet parent and it is a grater responsibility as feeding them, giving them shelter, and keeping them safe.

  22. Hazel Chambers says:

    The need to feel love and compassion is sadly missing in the world…..for all forms of life.

    I do argue against the position;however, that expression of compassion is an “either” or “choice”…that is to say….that if a person expresses compassion for an animal….they are somehow lacking in compassion for people.

    This dog depended on his guardian or owner…whatever term you prefer to care enough to not let him suffer.

    The owner for whatever reason did not do this….nor is their any indication he took the animal to another vet for any sort of treatment.

    Perhaps he could not bear to put the animal to sleep and hoped for a miracle…but read again the description of the state the dog was in when the vet saw it….and ask yourself if you would have let that continue.

    I do not believe that enuculation of the eye would have been that expensive and certainly would have been the most caring choice.

    We have a duty to care enough for an animal to do what is right for THEM….not what is right for us….and ultimately…they should be the same.

  23. A.C. says:

    Don, I’m with you on this. Compassion for people is sorely lacking in these days.

    I rescue and foster. No one loves and advocates for animals more than I. Last year, I was told one of my beloved furkids needed to be “let go” due to his suffering from the pet food poisoning.

    Shoot me if you want to - I took Ollie home and spent one last night saying goodbye. Not because I wanted my baby to suffer, but because it was a horror to me to make the decision to kill him, whatever the reason, and I COULDN’T DO IT. I had to have that day with him before I was able to.

    Don’t judge ’till you’ve been there, folks. And, even then, who are you to judge so harshly? If killing your best friend because he or she is SUFFERING is difficult and painful, how much more so when you have to do it because you lack the funds to make him or her well?!

    I feel for the dog’s suffering. I also feel for the owner, who had to lose his furry friend this way. God bless them both.

  24. Don Earl says:

    RE: “i had a stray cat came to me last year and there was something wrong with one of his eyes. i took him to the vet and they treated him a month with medication but unfornately didn’t work (i cannot have cats in my house as my mom is very allergic to cats so he stayed with the vet for a month).”

    What if someone came along in the middle of this and said, “Look at the way she’s treating her pet. She won’t let it in the house and it’s suffering while being treated with medication that doesn’t work. She’s an evil, cruel abuser and belongs in jail.”?

    I can find you an army of radicals who believe just that, even without the obvious misinterpretion. What if one of them was the animal control officer on duty when you showed up at the shelter with the one eyed cat?

    It’s bye-bye Mimi and we’ll throw a party for you when you make parole.

  25. Hazel Chambers says:

    This dog’s eye was bulgin out of the socket….and blood was coming from the nose and socket….he had to have been in agony.

    This man was not charged because the animal had a medical problem….he was charged because he FAILED to do anything about a suffering animal.

    I suspect the people on the scene and who know the whole story are a lot better judge of this man’s actions than we are.

    If cruelty charges were brought…pretty good bet there was a good reason.

    I did animal cruelty work for 7 years and could not handle it anymore.

    Caring about people also includes trusting people….so perhaps a bit of trust on those who charged him is called for.

  26. Hazel Chambers says:

    This poor dog also had a cut across his face….per the full story in the local paper.

    And one last thought….would you take a loved pet to animal control to be disposed of? I would think he could at least taken it to a vet without the added trauama of a pound.

  27. shibadiva says:

    Thanks, Hazel, for cutting through this.

    Wells’ and Animal Control’s testimony in court will likely bring out details of what really went down, including what happened during that three weeks between when the vet recommended immediate treatment and when a horribly suffering animal was finally brought to Animal Control.

    AC and humane society officers walk a fine line every day.

  28. Don Earl says:

    Doing some quick research on the topic, from:

    “The Prognosis is largely dependent upon how early the glaucoma is detected. Usually the dog is presented to the veterinarian long after any restoration of vision is possible. At this point the goal becomes a pain free and cosmetic affected eye and preventing glaucoma in the “good” eye, which will probably become affected from 6 months to 2 years after the first eye. Glaucoma requires long term management including proper medical and/or surgical therapy and regular and consistent re-evaluations.”

    If the first vet the man saw had been competent, it looks like the medical advice would have been to remove the eye or put the dog down - services one would reasonably assume any competent vet could perform without delay and at a reasonable cost. There isn’t anything the high dollar specialists could have done beyond bleeding the guy for money he didn’t have, for treatments that wouldn’t have done any good. Not to mention there would likely be an instant replay as early as 6 months later, with the end result being the dog would be blind in both eyes.

    So, intead of giving the guy unvarnised, practical advice on the most humane emergency care available under the circumstances, he was made to run a gauntlet of predatory, high dollar specialists that even the lynch mob on this board didn’t use in similar circumstances.

    Big deleted surprise it took him several weeks to figure out the score, and to decide on what was probably the only truly humane option available to him in the long run for a dog that was only 10 months old, faced near certain future suffering, and a life of blindness.

    A person that makes a good faith effort to get care for their pet in a crisis, which this guy obviously did, isn’t a criminal. Good grief! How many pet owners are prepared to face something like this 7-8 months after they acquire a puppy? Especially after getting a bum steer from the first vet they consult?

  29. shibadiva says:

    I think I’ll wait to hear what they say at the trial.

  30. Pheephee35 says:

    Wow, animallovr, what a judgmental piece of work. People have had pets since the beginning of time, and they did not have vets. Maybe this man is poor, stupid, too proud etc. etc. Who are we to harshly judge him? And who is to say that he was not upset that he could not do anything from his perspective? Believe me, I have had to ask and ask and ask for help when I was broke. And yes, there was a doctor who took my son in and saw him when the “efficient” gov. worker cancelled our medical and then my son got an ear infection. And yes, I do things for people for free nearly daily because I know there are situations where people just plain need help. When my cat needed diagnosis, they really pressured me for expensive blood tests, then a lesser set. I kept telling them I just did not have any money to pay for this stuff. They finally re-hydrated her for free. She died 20 minutes later. So — some people just give up and don’t fight back because they cannot stand being humiliated by saying “I am sorry, I cannot afford it.” If it had been me, I think I would have tried harder than this man appears to have, but then again, I am not in his shoes, do not have his mind set, so who am I to judge him?

  31. Katie says:

    Sorry, I’ve *dealt* with glaucoma. It is an acutely painful disease. ACUTELY PAINFUL. I’m sorry the guy wasn’t prepared to deal with it. I’m sorry for his loss. I’ve been there. I’ve put my own pets to sleep. I’ve worked in veterinary medicine for over five years and we’ve put many pets to sleep who could have been save given the money. But the money wasn’t there, and those people cried and sometimes they raged, but they did right by their beloved animals. I have all the compassion in the world for them.

    That guy could have said “I can’t afford a specialist, what are my other options?”. He could have called another vet and sought treatment there. He did not. He chose to do nothing, and in doing so, allowed his dog to suffer.

    Near certain future suffering? Not really. Not if the owner were willing to seek the necessary treatment, even if that meant double enucleations. There are plenty of blind dogs in this world who function just fine, who live happy, healthy lives.

  32. Don Earl says:

    RE: “I think I’ll wait to hear what they say at the trial.”

    Yeah, unfortunately, these sort of things usually end up in the hands of a public defender, looking to cut a low budget deal, rather than argue the case on the merits. It’s a situation which could potentially affect every person that owns a pet and really needs some clear precedent established to define the limits of these kind of statutes.

    As things stand, simply taking the time to get a second opinion from another vet could put a person in the penalty box, or even following a vet’s suggested treatment when it doesn’t produce immediate results. The decision to prosecute is entirely arbitrary and left to the descretion of AC officers that could decide to make an example of someone simply because they didn’t like their looks or because they were in a bad mood that day. Overly broad statutes, with no clear limits or definitions, are a threat to everyone.

  33. annonymous says:

    Well, Cate, my Grandma and Grandpa in the 50s did not have a lot of $ but they ran a farm with all kinds of animals on it including a couple of dogs. I am not saying they did not use a vet, but I never saw one come. They had to learn to care for their animals themselves. So people should not own a pet if they can’t afford overpriced, over-hyped care for it? Will you be my cat’s godmother? Hmmm?

    Don Earl, February 25th, 2008 at 9:55 pm , I couldn’t agree with you more!

  34. pheephee35 says:

    I am now 60+ but almost was not. The doctors did what they could to save me, and some of it was not necessary. I had insurance but that did not cover the alternative treatment. I am darned glad that euthanasia is not for humans, because maybe my kids would have decided that that was the most humane thing to do. God saved me working through two kinds of doctors — allopathic oncology and naturopathy — and through the many prayers offered on my behalf. I am glad none of my doctors took the Kavorkian bent that I might as well give up. If that is “good enough” for me, it is good enough for a dog or cat and vice versa.

    Yes, people hope beyond hope, and you know what? Sometimes it happens in real life just like in ET. I know because I have been there.

    Oh, and I did not understand why it happened to me, nor why I was going to give up my life and being with my friends and family etc.

  35. pheephee35 says:

    I just had to come back and leave this link for all interested. It is about a dog, Tiger, who was supposed to be euthanized as there was no hope for his myelopathy condition. He rallied for a year, then with another kind of treatment, he has lived another 3 years.

    This vet uses holistic methods including gemmotherapy which is the alternative I used for my “terminal” cancer. I do not sell this product or get any re-imbursement.

  36. trucorgi says:

    Don Earl says:
    Overly broad statutes, with no clear limits or definitions, are a threat to everyone.

    This is so true, “failed to seek medical care” is way too broad. For humans an emergency room can never turn someone away. Try taking your pet to an emergency animal hospital without a credit card up front and see what happens. Knowing that your only option is to surrender your pet to AC so they can immediately put him to sleep is a tough pill to swallow.

    If the first vet the man saw had been competent, it looks like the medical advice would have been to remove the eye or put the dog down - services one would reasonably assume any competent vet could perform without delay and at a reasonable cost.

    Competent? My only experience with Banfield (PetSmart vet), was the time I took a dog to be neutered. You can’t get much more routine than that. Both testicles were down. He nearly bled to death in the cage after surgery. They had to rush him back into surgery to stop the bleeding or he would have died. I thought he had vWD so I DNA tested him, negative. I never went back there either. If they can’t remove testicles without complications, I’m sure an eye is way out of their league. Too bad this man did not have the means to find a better vet.

  37. AnimalLuvr says:


    If the “govt” cancels your “medical” then it’s safe to say you are relying on our tax dollars for your care. If that’s the case, then you obviously do not have enough money to have an animal (even for pet food).

    And comparing human health care to pet health care is a huge stretch. They are two different beasts.

    And by the way, having a conversation with people is not judging. I am reacting to what I have read and asserting my opinion.

  38. trucorgi says:

    It’s safe to say that you have no problem with “our tax dollars” being used to prosecute this man then???? His trial is set for April 7th.

  39. Hazel Chambers says:

    This “caring” owner took the dog to the vet in early November…he did nothing claiming he did not have the money.

    He waited almost EIGHT weeks to once again show how “caring” he was by dumping the poor dog in the pound….with a bulging and bleeding eye and nose.

    I Guess he “could not afford” to even have the dog humanely put to sleep.

    Yep…letting an animal slowly die in great pain and then dumping him…that is something we should sure not “judge”.

    Why is it that those here who are so quick to question the vet’s competency….question the judgement of Animal Control….are so quick then to tell us we should not “judge” a person who allows an animal to be in agony for weeks.

    We have a responsibility to those who depend on us…just as this dog did….and when we fail to act…..that is simply wrong.

    I have had a horse, dogs and cats put to sleep and it was horrible…but as my vet told me…”You nave to care more about your animal than yourself sometimes?

    And yes….he “allowed” it by doing nothing.

    We owe it to our pets that we will not allow them to suffer…we may not always be able to treat them….but we darn well should be able to insure their live is not a living hell.

  40. Hazel Chambers says:

    Here is the write-up from the police blotter. Please note that the vet did tell Wells the dog needed treatment. The dog’s condition was due to Well’s failure to act….not a vet’s lack of competency.

    ANIMAL CRUELTY: on 12/22/07, 30 year old Demetrius Wells of Gilmer St. took a male pit bull to Animal Control due to the dog having a severe eye injury/condition. The dog was immediately put down due to excessive pain and suffering that he was undergoing. Investigation by Animal Control revealed that the dog had a progressive eye condition since at least 11/30/07, when Mr. Wells took it to a veterinarian. The veterinarian diagnosed the condition as glaucoma, and advised Mr. Wells of the extreme pain and suffering that would result if the condition was not treated promptly. That veterinarian referred Mr. Wells to other practitioners who could and would treat the dog. Mr. Wells never took the dog for any follow up treatment, citing the cost, which he said he could not afford. On 2/20/07 at 3:19 PM, he was arrested on a warrant charging him with Animal Cruelty by failing to provide necessary veterinary care. (08-001027)

  41. Richard Wicks says:


    The dog didn’t have to be destroyed. It had glaucoma. Untreated glaucoma leads to almost immediately blindness in dogs. The animal should have had the afflicted eye(s) enucleated, and that’s it. There would have been PLENTY of rescues that would have taken the dog in, and dealt with it’s blindness.

    *MY* dog has glaucoma and it’s VERY expensive. 5ml of Xalatan is $100 - thats about $3 per drop in the eye, and it’s twice a day. It’s $200 a month for drugs. I had to get surgery on one eye where she already had gone blind, that cost $200 after all the medication. I’ve spent $3000 in the last 2 weeks since the first diagnosis.

    It’s insane though that they KILLED this animal simply because it had glaucoma. All they had to do is release the IOP with a needle, then enucleate the eye. It would have been immediate relief, but they killed the animal.

    Way to step in, animal control! You fucks.

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