Kelly Ryan, Herald Sun, September 2009
“Owner Mitch Greig is distraught his best mate could have had major surgery without his knowledge or approval, given the cavalier King Charles spaniel is registered and microchipped.
Devastated his dog has lost a leg, he is just as appalled Billy, whom he planned to breed, has also been desexed.
Mr Greig wants to know how a much-loved pet could be presented by a stranger as a first-time animal patient to a vet and the dog not automatically be scanned for a potentially life-saving microchip.
“It’s bad enough he has lost a leg, which had been getting veterinary treatment at great cost to me, but I had plans to breed him and he has been irreversibly desexed,” Mr Greig said.”What’s the point of paying for microchipping, which proves ownership, if they aren’t going to check it.”
Mr Greig spent weeks putting up posters and sending flyers to southeast suburban vets when Billy disappeared on July 31.
“I’ve come to Melbourne from Brisbane and Billy was my best and only mate,” he said. “I’d got the cat, Eli, to keep him company while I was at work and Eli was just as devastated when Billy vanished as I was.”
His joy when told at the weekend Billy had turned up at the Lost Dogs’ Home turned to horror when he was told the dog had only three legs and had been desexed.
Billy was handed in still in the blue coat he was wearing when he disappeared but with a new collar replacing his old ID tag with his name and owner’s contact details.
As a pup, Billy suffered a serious leg injury that had been surgically treated, and he walked with a limp.
“Any vet should’ve been able to tell it was a longstanding injury that had been treated. Someone somewhere has paid thousands of dollars to to have my dog’s leg amputated and have him desexed when they could have got a new pup the same breed for a fraction the price.”
Australian Veterinary Association Victorian president Bill Harkin said the case was “strange”.
“The problem could have been the person presenting it may have said it was their pet,” he said. “New pets are presented to vets for the first time many, many times a day.
“They have moved house perhaps and vets have to take it on good faith the animal belongs to that person.
“If they say they found it in the street, then yes, you are obliged to scan the animal. But the purpose of a microchip is identification when required and not to be checked every time presented to a veterinary practice.”