Charity clashes with council over dog

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Primrose’s pain: A hernia on Primrose has been operated on, and she is recovering well.  Pictures: Supplied

A CHARITY helping dogs who need life saving treatment has accused Frankston Council of cutting off communication with them after accepting their donation.

Primrose was impounded by Frankston Council after being found with a huge growth next to her stomach, and council called charity service Rescued with Love to help pay for the  necessary surgery.

Rescued with Love founder Kae Norman said that Council cut off communication with the organisation once they accepted a $2000 donation for the dog’s surgery and had a written guarantee that the charity would cover further medical costs.

“I received a call from Frankston Council, they said we’ve got this little dog at the lost dogs home, and it needs treatment. The problem was they thought it had pyometra, an infected uterus, and she had a massive hernia. If she cut that hernia where it was her intestines would have fallen out onto the ground. It contained her lower intestine, her spleen, her balder, and her uterus. Plus she had bladder stones, she was in a bad state. They believed we would be willing to take her on once the eight day impound time had finished.”

Ms Norman agreed to help the dog and said a $2000 deposit was needed to pay for Primrose’s surgery. She said that she had been told by council that they “did not have access to that kind of money, it was ratepayers money.”

“I told them I’ll pay for the deposit so she can get the treatment she needs. I rang the advanced vet clinic and paid them directly.

“On Thursday [3 January] along with the $2000 deposit we had to send a legal agreement email saying we’d pay all costs for dogs and council wouldn’t have to foot the bill. In cases like that when there is a vet bill outstanding, the animal is normally euthanised. That’s what they were going to have to do if we didn’t step forward. If Frankston Council didn’t pay for it the dog would be euthanised.” 

After the payment was made Ms Norman said council stopped communicating with her.

“The following morning I rang the hospital to see how Primrose was and was told bluntly we’re not allowed to give you information. I was surprised about that, we deal with them and know them well, and when we have a dog go in there we can usually get updates,” she said.

After ringing council for an update and to ask if further surgeries were needed, Ms Norman said “nothing was disclosed. We were told we were not allowed to visit the dog. Not allowed a photograph of the dog. I said we don’t work this way, we’ve paid up front, we normally have access. I didn’t know if it needs immediate surgery. It might have needed more money, the surgeries were estimated up to $7000, which we would need to fund raise. You can’t fund raise without any information.

“The weekend goes and I presumed the dog was alive. On the Monday [7 January] I was told by council that the dog was stable. I asked for legal reason why I couldn’t see her. The legal person at council said I would upset the dog. I laughed at him.

“They said she might need CT scan, I asked what the $2000 had been used towards and they x-rays and scans. I asked what have they shown, they said they couldn’t tell me. We weren’t consulted in any of the decision made about scans, we were just told to front up for the money.”

Primrose has now had her surgeries, which were successful.

“She spent her impound time at the hospital, after then we signed the adoption agreement. She went back into the hospital on Wednesday [16 January] morning, and had surgery that afternoon.  From that point on we had nothing to do with council. Surgery went very well, and she left hospital two days later. 

“I felt it was all poorly handled, no cooperation between charity and council. They were only interested in us paying for the dog.”

Frankston mayor Michael O’Reilly said “we understand Primrose’s story has touched the hearts of many.”

“Over the last three weeks council has worked with all involved towards resolving this complicated situation, always with the best interests of Primrose at the forefront. 

“While working towards a positive outcome, Council took the guidance and advice of her expert veterinary team, and during her stabilisation and initial recovery from surgery, continued to keep all parties informed of her progress.

“Primrose is now doing well and in the care of Rescued with Love, which is the outcome we were always working towards.”

Frankston Council extended Ms Norman an invitation to set up a Rescued with Love stall at the pet expo in October. It was declined.

A Rescued With Love Facebook post criticising council racked up over 1000 likes and was shared over 300 times.

Ms Norman said that Primrose is now happy and on the mend, and should get “adopted with no problems”.

“I’ve been contacting her in foster care, she’s a lovely natured little soul and hasn’t complained. Next week she will have her stitches from her tummy removed. Then she’ll have to take it easy so it can heal.” 

First published in the Western Port News – 30 January 2019

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