Lizard man 'shocked' at pet store policy

PUBLISHED: 13:00 13 September 2013

Aggro the lizard

Aggro the lizard

Archant

A REPTILE enthusiast who could not afford treatment for his lizard claims vets at a well-known pet store offered to perform 'an emergency euthanasia' instead.

Jonathan Church, aged 47, of Rainham Court, Weston, bought a bearded dragon from Pets At Home in Marchfields Way.

The lizard, named Aggro, was healthy when Mr Church bought him. When the two-year-old animal fell ill, he took it back to the same shop to see if he could get veterinary advice.

Mr Church claims the pet shop wanted to charge him £75 for a consultation - and would only accept instant payment.

When Mr Church explained he would only be able to pay two days later, he claims the store refused to treat Aggro - and instead offered to put the animal down if it was suffering.

The emergency euthanasia would also have cost £75, but Mr Church says the store would have accepted payment for that procedure at a later date.

He said: “They said ‘We can give him an emergency euthanasia injection’. I was absolutely shocked.

“I told them I didn’t get paid until two days later, and they said that wasn’t store policy.”

Mr Church then took Aggro to Highcroft Veterinary Group in Whitchurch, Bristol, where he was treated for a simple vitamin deficiency at a cost of £35.

He said: “I thought it was unreal. They couldn’t wait for the money to cure him, but could wait for the money to kill him on the spot.

“They are supposed to be vets, caring for animals. I am disgusted. The more I think about it, the more wound up I get.”

Pets At Home denies any wrongdoing and says Mr Church used his prerogative to seek treatment elsewhere when he disagreed with the costs. The vets insist it is their duty to euthanise any animal in distress, with or without payment.

A spokesman for Companion Care Vets, which is based in the Pets At Home store, said: “Mr Church contacted our in-store branch of Companion Care Vets on July 21 to discuss making an appointment for the vet to see his bearded dragon.

“Upon discussing consultation prices with the receptionist, Mr Church chose to visit another vet in the local area to seek treatment.

“At Pets At Home we are passionate about pets and we will always put the welfare of pets first, regardless of financial considerations, particularly if the circumstances necessitate sparing the pet from undue distress or suffering.”

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