Vet Reprimanded For Not Euthanizing Cat, Kept Cat For Two Years

Mr. Kitty

A South Carolina veterinarian has been reprimanded by the state licensing board for taking money to euthanize a cat. Instead of euthanizing the cat, she kept the cat at her office for almost two years.

The situation started in May 2005 when Brandi Hart brought her daughter’s cat, Mr. Kitty, to Merri Walden Crenshaw to be treated for a urinary tract infection.

Crenshaw told Hart that Mr. Kitty would continue to be in pain and would get worse. Hart paid Crenshaw to euthanize Mr. Kitty to end his suffering.

Instead of euthanizing Mr. Kitty, Crenshaw started to treat him and give him medication for his condition. She never notified Hart that Mr. Kitty was recovering from his condition and that he was alive.

Earlier this year, an employee notified Hart that Mr. Kitty was living at the animal hospital. The family went to take Mr. Kitty home, but employees tried to give them a different cat.

A state investigator retrieved Mr. Kitty and brought him back to the Hart family.

Crenshaw was found by the South Carolina Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners to be using false statements in medical records, improperly obtaining fees and engaging in unprofessional conduct. She was fined $1,000 and her license has been placed on probationary status for two years.

The Hart family is extremely happy that Mr. Kitty is alive and is back in their lives, but they are still uncertain why Crenshaw nursed their cat back to health even though she said she was going to euthanize him.

Source: Go

29 thoughts on “Vet Reprimanded For Not Euthanizing Cat, Kept Cat For Two Years

  1. Maybe because the owner’s did not want to pay for the medical bills to nurse the cat back to health? The vet took pitty and decided to treat the kitty instead? There has to be more to this than the story is giving us.

  2. Euthing for a UTI? wouldn’t the cat just need a urine test and antibiotics? i can see if he had stones and needed emergency surgery and it being too expensive, perhaps, but a UTI?

  3. I’m sure we don’t have the whole story here. It is outrageous that they would even consider euthanizing the kitty for a UTI. And, frankly, if the owners were unwilling or unable to pay for treating this, they really should not have this cat now. He deserves people who will take care of him properly.

  4. remember, the vet TOLD THE WOMEN, that the cat would CONTINUE TO BE IN PAIN, even with treatment.

    we are trained to trust our doctors in this country. there is no reason someone who does not know medicine should assume that the doctor is wrong or lying.

    If i knew my kitty would be in pain for the rest of her life, i’d euthanize.

    this vet sound slike she or he has issues – or simply didn’t choose to clarify teh situation when the owner decided to euthanize.

    “Crenshaw told Hart that Mr. Kitty would continue to be in pain and would get worse. Hart paid Crenshaw to euthanize Mr. Kitty to end his suffering.”

  5. She used to be my dog’s vet. I stopped going to her because she charged way to much. We see a wonderful vet now. It was my understanding that she told the owners that their cat could not be saved and would be in pain. I still don’t know the whole story but I have heard people say she charged for services she never provided.

  6. I think the vet should have been reprimanded for lying to the owners and not returning the cat, not for “not euthanizing the cat”!

    The only good thing to come of of this is that the cat is cured and not dead, and the family got the cat back.

  7. The vet, for whatever reasons, fell in love with this cat and saved him and took care of the cat for the duration. What ever the reasons, the cat is now alive and well and I have to feel no anger over that. The previous cat owners, (now current) they will have to deal with their own issues over that.

  8. I don’t think we have the whole story. It just doesn’t make any sense at all that a vet would agree to euthanize and then keep the cat, treat it, and let it walk around her office for two years. [It’s the “walking around the office” factor that makes me think the owners might have told the vet that they didn’t want to pay for treatment and gave the cat up.]

    I think there was a grave misunderstanding somewhere between owner and veterinarian.

  9. Merlin Marshall, look at what the text of the article says, not just the headline: “Crenshaw was found by the South Carolina Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners to be using false statements in medical records, improperly obtaining fees and engaging in unprofessional conduct.”

    Nora, Pam, Straybaby, Rhonda, “Crenshaw told Hart that Mr. Kitty would continue to be in pain and would get worse. Hart paid Crenshaw to euthanize Mr. Kitty to end his suffering.” It’s not that the Harts weren’t willing to pay for treatment; Crenshaw lied to them about their cat’s condition and prognosis. Most of us, I think, would choose to have a pet put to sleep rather than force them to endure ongoing and ever-increasing pain. Crenshaw lied in order to take the cat from them. Nora says she has “no anger over that.” Well, easy for her to say; it’s not her that believed her vet when the vet said her cat had an untreatable and painful condition, and subsequently found out the cat was entirely treatable and the vet just wanted the cat for herself. And oh, the condescension of saying the former/current owners “will have to deal with their own issues over that.” As if well-adjusted, normal people wouldn’t be angry over the situation, only people with “issues.”

  10. If this cat was SO beloved by the family, why did they not ask for a cremation or burial or something? Are there still people out there who just let the vets rid of their cats bodies? No crying and saying goodbye to your kitty after it has been given the shot?

    Very strange!!

  11. Lis, i wasn’t questioning the owners actions based on what the vet told her. i was partially wondering if there was missing info, more than a UTI, as i had never heard of euthing as a solution for a UTI. probably didn’t articulate that well as i was a bit shocked the vet went there and also relating to the money issue brought up here. UTI’s are treatable! and proper diet should keep reoccurring ones at bay if that’s an issue. the situation just didn’t add up in my brain, prob cause of being down the UTI route a few times. It’s a shame the owner didn’t know/believed the vet.

    lynn, if they gave the cat up, they generally have to sign the pet over. i think the cost of paying for the euth (which they did) is about the same as treating a UTI, if i remember my rates correctly. and most vets would treat a young otherwise healthy cat and adopt it out over euthing, i would think.

  12. Amanda,

    not every one wants the ashes back or has a place to bury their pet. and not everyone can handle the death of a pet to be there with it or see the body after (my father is a prime example). doesn’t make them any less of a loving owner and we don’t know that they weren’t upset! also, the cost of the euth and getting the ashes back is close to $300 where i’m at, which puts it out of range for some folks. i kept those costs set aside from my vet account for my senior kitties to make sure i had it, but someone caught off guard might not have it available. these are not the days of extra cash for many families.

    it is still a strange situation though. i can’t get past the euthing for a UTI!

  13. Man, That is a weird story. That just reinforces my belief that you can’t take everything the doctors say as the golden truth. You have to use your own judgement.
    It probably cost more for the vet to treat the UTI and feed and house the cat for that long than for the money they received for the euthanization….still they shouldn’t have lied. The owner sounds like they were doing what the vet recommended at first.
    We probably don’t know the whole story. We seldom do. News is biased.
    But doctors are human and nearly as dumb as everyone else.

  14. I never got my cat’s remains back after having him put to sleep. I had pictures of him and my memories and I thought that was enough. It does sound like a strange story, though.

  15. Sorry, but I still think a chunk of the story is missing. As far as the Vet Board and their findings, we don’t know what their actual private conclusions were. They may initially conclude one thing and then plea bargain it down to something else. I don’t know, but I would imagine that they are protective of their own.

    I was raked over the coals a few weeks back for writing this on another blog, but I still stand by my belief that those who really love the pet will be there until the end, after the euthanasia. I don’t buy the “some people can’t stand to do that” argument. [If it was their child would they run off at the time of most critical need?]

    Yes, most vets protect themselves by having the guardian sign a consent to euthanize…..but I suppose there could be extenuating circumstances when that doesn’t happen.

    I’m left with the feeling that the office staff doesn’t seem to have much direction from, and definitely not loyalty for, the vet. I wonder if any of them are culpable. And worst, this business of the hospital staff trying to pawn off another cat onto the Harts. Now THAT is terrible. Just terrible.

    Again, if you were a professional whose license demanded integrity, do you really think you would let the cat walk around the office for two years when it’s supposed to be dead? It doesn’t make sense.

  16. Lynn, I agree with your points on this. It does not make sense. I have had vet’s offices call me to take a cat that has been brought in to be e/c’ed for aggressiveness, or medical issues that required a cash outlay on a continuing basis, i.e. diabetes. The office did, though, as far as I am aware, ask the “owners” first if it was ok to try to find a loving home for the cat. If the answer was yes, they asked for the amount of money to be paid equal to what the people would have paid for an e/c, in order to update the cat on vaccinations or help with sterilization costs. Although vets can and do have issues, I have seen some very compassionate ones. Perhaps the vet decided that she would take care of the cats medical issues because she was kind hearted. And, maybe the “owners” didn’t want to or could not pay for the medical costs of the cat to begin with? Just because the board of vets decided against her does not mean that she did not do what was right for the cat in her care. Wish we knew all of the facts. Cathy

  17. Does anyone know, would Crenshaw be able to use Mr Kitty as a source of blood transfusions, or something of that nature?

    The cynic in us keeps wondering why she went to so much trouble to ‘acquire’ this kittie, just to keep him at the animal hospital.

  18. Offhand, you wouldn’t think they would want to use a cat prone to UTI’s as a blood donor, would you?

  19. Years ago when I worked as a vet tech, a dog was brought in to be euthanized for a really stupid reason (don’t remember whether the people were moving or just what it was). It was a really nice dog, and after the people left we found it a new home. There was no question in either of our minds (mine, or the vet’s) that we had done the right thing. This experience alone makes me agree with Lynn: we’re not seeing the whole picture here.

  20. Kathy,

    why was the vet punished then?


    re:”But I still stand by my belief that those who really love the pet will be there until the end, after the euthanasia. I don’t buy the “some people can’t stand to do that” argument. [If it was their child would they run off at the time of most critical need?]”

    i’m sorry, but my dad just can’t handle it. glad you can and i hope everyone you know can also. must be nice. at one point my mother (who LOVES animals, as does my dad) almost didn’t get anymore as she was the one that had to take care of the end. my dad would prefer for them all to pass naturally. sadly, that’s not always the best way.

    not everyone handles death and grief in the same way. i hope we can all respect that.

    while i’m still not 100% sold on what we know, i’m not willing to condemn a pet owner because they couldn’t *be* there at the end as a bad pet owner.

    “Yes, most vets protect themselves by having the guardian sign a consent to euthanize…..but I suppose there could be extenuating circumstances when that doesn’t happen.”

    i’ve had to sign the euth type waiver for some procedures. it’s pretty standard and pretty clear. i doubt that when paying for a euth, the terms would be vague. if they are, the vet doesn’t need to be practicing, imo.

  21. My belief is the owners decided to put the cat to sleep because it was cheaper and then decided they wanted it back only when an employee ratted out the vet. They are probably looking for money in a lawsuit. I would not have returned the cat to that family under any circumstances.

  22. How many people on this board have had an UTI ? How many of your doctors suggested you make out your will ? This story,……… missing many parts.

  23. Kim – what you say is *so* true. but i’ve learned teh hard way to apply it to human doctors (and probably any other so-called “expert”) too.

    we trust too much, and i’m at a point where even if it means my own pocket pays for it, i’d do second opnions on just about anything from my cat’s health to my health.

    sad, huh? When docs want us to treat them like gods, but then do things that remind all of us they are and should only be seen as human.

  24. Re comment by straybaby December 14th, 2007 at 2:03 am:

    “…glad you can [be there during euthanasia] and i hope everyone you know can also. must be nice.”

    No, it damn well isn’t “nice.” But you suck it up, as painful as it is. That’s life.

    When you are a parent of a human or a pet you are not allowed to self-destruct. Being with a dying pet or child is the last act of comfort you can give. To NOT be there because you, the person who will go on living, “can’t emotionally deal with it,” is selfish.

    I’m not sure if you were referring to my statement about the possibility of extenuating circumstances [regarding permission to euthanize] when you said “the terms would be vague.”

    “Extenuating circumstances” that I was referring to might be such things as if the responsible party was perhaps a sibling of the vet, or if the responsible party wasn’t able to read English, or if the animal was in such great pain that to wait for a form to be signed would have been cruel. And let’s not forget that [in my experience] it’s not the veterinarian who brings in the form but a staff member……and people do get busy and clerical errors occur.

    Again, there’s too much missing from this story.

    In fact, I’ve even wondered if some of the vet’s staff did some misdeeds that the vet is taking the blame for. The whole thing just does not come together for me.

  25. The cat was “blocked” meaning it could not urinate without the help of a urinary catheter and without the catheter the cat’s bladder would burst and the cat would die. The vet should have given the owner’s the option of signing the cat over to vet clinic if she wanted to save the cat. The owners could not afford this type of treatment which can run anywhere from $300-$500 so the only other option was euthansia so the cat would not suffer. Maybe after the vet treated the cat and saved his life she should have done the right thing and called the owner to let her know the outcome and then maybe she wouldn’t have gotten into trouble. Put yourself into the owners shoes, you would have done the same thing if it was your pet.

  26. When my cat was poisoned my regular vet was out of town and the assistant at the office didn’t seem to want to be bothered with my questions. Dr. Crenshaw saved my kitty’s life and has taken care of all my pets since then. I think she’s wonderful and I agree there’s more to this story.

  27. i agree that there is more to the story here than is published, and the omissions probably slant the actual situation in favor of the vet.

    many times people don’t have the $ to treat an animal and drop it off at the vet for euthanasia. the vet might have had second thoughts and decided to treat the cat.

    thought not reported, the cat might require continual medication for the UTI, as these buggers are sometimes difficult to shake in male cats.

    this might be one of the best vets out there. wish she was in my area!

  28. My male cat had several UTI’s for a year. We kept on taking him to the vet and he was put on medicine. The last time was over a weekend and since the vet was closed, we took him to the Vet Emergency Hospital. We thought the vet would just prescribe medicine, but she didn’t. She took my cat and after examining him stated he was blocked. She wrote up a bill of $1900 so she could put a catheter in him to unblock whatever it was that was making him like this. She stated it could be stones, or may be he just had crystals…She stated male cats are prone to this because they have a small area to pee. She stated even after having this surgery he could get it back in a week…It’s unpredictable. My first reaction was I trusted this “place” because we took this same cat here for eye surgery that cost $1500 not including all the other vet visits to our regular vet who recommended this place for the surgery. So it’s not to say you don’t love your pet and you’re not willing to pay, you just have to see the signs that some pets have many problems. In my mind I “assumed” the cat would forever have these infections and be unable to pee and uncomfortable. What if we didn’t notice? He would die in a very short period of time. I happen to have been in the basement when I saw him struggling to pee. He cried and continued to lick himself. I have 3 other cats, some from the same litter who none have his problems. Some cats are just prone.
    Honestly if the vet wanted to treat him and decided to keep him I would have liked to know. I thought my cat had this problem because my 2 dogs caused him stress and he was a nervous cat. But in the end, stress added to it, but was not why he was having this problem. We don’t know the whole story and can’t assume anything. My assumption caused me to put my cat down and my regrets will haunt me. I wanted to give him to someone that had no pets in hope he would have a better chance of not getting this over and over again. But in the end that’s not what happened and based on what the vet said I put him down.

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