Rescue Laws Questioned After Woman Adopts Terminally Ill Pet

Rescue Laws Questioned After Woman Adopts Terminally Ill Pet

CREATED Mar 13, 2014

by Marcus Washington 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A local woman claims the owners of a Nashville animal sanctuary are selling off terminally ill pets.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said just two days after buying her cat, she was forced to euthanize the pet.

"We started looking on Craigslist and decided we were going to get a cat; it's lower maintenance," she said.

She is not as shy about how much she loved her new cat Anabelle.

"She was the sweetest cat that I have ever been around," she said. "My husband is not a cat person and he even felt the same way, just friendly."

Within a few days, the woman discovered the cat was sick.

Anabella was diagnosed with the parasite, giardia, an infection in ears, feline leukemia and feline AIDS.

As a veterinary technician, the woman said she asked all the right questions.

"The lady informed me that she was completely vaccinated and she was tested for feline AIDS and leukemia and she tested negative," she said. 

Sara Taft started the no-kill Paws on Hearts Sanctuary Rescue from her home in Inglewood last year. She said she had no idea Anabelle was sick.

"And I explained to her and I said 'I'm sorry, I did not know. I said the cat has not been sick. She has been eating and playing,'" said Taft. "She had been spayed back in January through an organization here in Tennessee and from my understanding, when they spayed her they gave her rabies shot, her feline leukemia shots and they were tested."

Leighann Lassiter, the Tennessee State Director of The Humane Society of the United States, said many times the animals are not symptomatic when they're in the shelter or rescue, but sometimes the stress of moving to a new environment causes the diseases or symptoms to progress.

"Tennessee doesn't even regulate our animal shelters, much less the home base rescue groups; so, there is not a central location for people to go to find out if there have been complaints against a rescue group," she said. "So, it's not always fault or negligence of the rescuer or the shelter, it's unfortunately a part of life for them." 

Taft said she now will make some changes.

"I'm not taking in any more cats right now until I get this situation under hand. I don't want to contaminate anyone else," cried Taft.

Lassiter recommended that if you buy or adopt an animal from any shelter, ask to see vet records. If they cannot provide records, call the veterinarian directly.

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