Can I sue a vet clinic for falsely reporting me to the SPCA? 20 Answers as of September 14, 2012

I took my cat in to the vet for treatment of a possible broken leg 2 days ago. After an $80 visit fee, we were informed that the leg MIGHT be broken and were given an estimate of nearly $400 for xrays to determine if the leg was actually broken. We chose to give it a few days and monitor his progress. Yesterday, we received a call from the vet clinic asking us if we wanted to go through with the xrays and we declined. This morning we were visited by to officers from the SPCA. They informed us that they were contacted by the clinic and were told that we had refused treatment for an animal with a broken leg. We were cited and given seven days to have the cat reexamined and treated for the broken leg, and that the SPCA would need to be notified by the examining vet that this had been done. WHAT? The vet doesn't even know if the leg IS broke. Now we HAVE to spend $400 on him, and he's walking around fine. Isn't this some form of blackmail?

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Law office of Robert D. Scott | Robert Scott
You can sue anyone you believe has caused you injury. The burden is on you to prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 9/14/2012
Law Office of Phillip Weiser
Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
You can sue if your case is founded and an attorney agrees to sue on your behalf.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 9/13/2012
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
Anybody can sue anybody for anything. Winning is a different issue. First you would have to unconditionally ?win? the criminal charges by getting a complete dismissal based upon a finding of factual innocence. When charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can you be convicted, and what can you do? Raise all appropriate defenses with whatever witnesses, evidence and sympathies are available for legal arguments, for evidence suppression or other motions, or for trial. If you don't know how to represent yourself effectively against an experienced prosecutor intending to convict, then hire an attorney who does, who will try to get a dismissal, charge reduction, diversion, program, or other decent outcome through motions, plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate. If serious about hiring counsel to help in the criminal charges and possible later civil action, feel free to contact me. I?ll be happy to help fight this and get the best outcome possible, using whatever defenses there may be.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/13/2012
Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
Something is not adding up. Would need the vet statement to verify, which I would ask for. There should be something written down. Once in the care of vet, cannot let continue to be injured. You can get second opinion.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/13/2012
Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
This is protection of the animal. If you get an xray and it is negative then fine. If it is broken that could be cruelty to animals. Get it examined!!!!
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/13/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    You need to hire an attorney. This does sound unbelievable.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/13/2012
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    I would think so since they did not tell you the leg was broken. I would tell the SPCA where to get off since the animal was not definately diagnosed with a broken leg.? I would take the animal to another vet. I would get another opinion.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/13/2012
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    In the state of Washington, you can be cited of animal neglect. The alternative is to go on the offensive and tell the vet to put the cat down. Do not discuss this situation with anyone other than your attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/13/2012
    James M. Osak, P.C.
    James M. Osak, P.C. | James M. Osak
    NO. Take care of your INJURED CAT. Would you refuse treatment if your kid had a broken leg Cat's in PAIN . . . HELP IT.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/13/2012
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    Sounds like the Vet is not being ethical but you need to post this question on a civil forum as it does not appear to be a criminal question.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/13/2012
    Law Office of Jared C. Winter
    Law Office of Jared C. Winter | Jared C. Winter
    Why not just go to another vet for a second opinion Suing the vet is not going to get you anywhere. Civil suits require you to prove that you were damaged in some way. There aren't any damages here. The SPCA isn't a law enforcement agency, so whatever "citation" they issued to you has no legal consequences for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/13/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    If there is a way to make money, people will find it. I know that some businesses use the laws and authorities to exploit people, but I would think that you have the right to "put it down" or at least refuse on the basis that you cannot afford the x-rays. If the cat is fine and you can prove it I do not know what they can do to make you get z-rays, but you should contact an attorney in your area to fully research the law and contact the SPCA and fight this. That should cost about $300 per hour, so probably $300. Then you might be able to sue the clinic for legal fees if they are not correct in what they did, but it is going to require putting the money out up front. That is the fact of life in our litigious society, if someone breaks their leg on your steps you get sued and your insurance goes up. I do not think they can force you to get an x-ray or operation, but I am a criminal lawyer and there are no lawyers who you will find that already know the answer to this question unless you are lucky to get a cat owner or one who has already dealt with it. You could also call the ACLU and other legal clinics and see if they have heard of this issue.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/13/2012
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Sure you can, just be prepared to cough up the hundreds of dollars per hour in legal fees your attorney will need to sue them for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/13/2012
    Miel & Carr, PLC
    Miel & Carr, PLC | Keeley D Heath
    What it sounds like is a SCAM. The SPCA is a private, non-profit organization. They have volunteers, not "officers." If someone came to your home claiming to be an "officer" from the SPCA, and issued you a "citation," they need to be reported to the police for impersonating law enforcement. If your cat is no longer showing signs of pain or discomfort, I can't see why you would spend $400 on x-rays at this point. It's your pet, and your choice, and it certainly is not against the law to not seek treatment for your animal when it is absolutely unnecessary. Report the people who showed up to your home to the police, and find yourself a new vet who isn't a scam artist. Do not spend the $400.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/13/2012
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