Local vet tries to change Albany Humane Society's adoption policy

A puppy that tested positive for Parvo virus was taken off medication and transported to another vet following a dispute between the doctor and the owner

/ Colby Gallagher

One local vet says she is trying to raise awareness and change a policy at the Albany Humane Society after a dispute over a sick puppy.

Dr. Carie Wisell says an AHS employee brought in a puppy claiming she had just adopted it and it was sick. Dr. Wisell says the puppy tested positive for parvo virus, a deadly, highly contagious disease.

The employee used her own money to put a $200 deposit down on treatments and left. Dr. Wisell says shortly after she received a call from AHS saying the puppy was not 12 weeks old, their adoption age, and that all treatments should be stopped.

After she said no, Dr. Wisell says Tara Miller of AHS threatened to call the police if she did not turn it over.

After consulting the state veterinarian and various animal professionals, Dr. Wisell says she made one last effort and offered to perform the services for free. When AHS refused, Dr. Wisell says she gave the puppy back fearing that it would be euthanized.

Georgia State Veterinarian, Dr. Robert Cobb, says Dr. Wisell can express her opinion but is obligated to act upon the owner's request.

"She can say it and recommend it and should if that's how she feels, but if it is the property of somebody then she is obligated to abide by the owner's wishes," said Dr. Cobb.

After getting the puppy back, the AHS took it to Dr. Fred Freeland of Albany Pet Partners, who confirms he is currently treating the chocolate lab mix.

We reached out to the Albany Humane Society's Board of Directors who released the following statement:

"On Monday, September 10th, a new employee of AHS took a puppy that looked as if it did not feel well to the vet. This employee mistakenly took it to the wrong Veterinarian office. When we became aware of the situation, we picked up the puppy and transported it to our Veterinarian that we normally use for health issues. As of this writing, the puppy is doing well."

The board declined to comment further on the situation.

Dr. Wisell says she is making the story public because she is hoping to change the adoption age at AHS from 12 to 8 weeks old, the standard for most adoption agencies in our area. The employee who wants to adopt the puppy would have been able to do so and start treatment had the adoption age been set at 8 weeks, which Dr. Wisell says is an acceptable age to spay or neuter, a process that is mandatory when adopting.

However, there is no state mandated age surrounding adoptions.

"They have to follow these regulations that are based upon the care of animals and health providers but they set their own policies as to how they want to go about doing that," said Dr. Cobb.

Dr. Wisell says she plans to try and meet with the AHS Board of Directors to talk about changing the policy to prevent future cases like this.

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