To: P.E.T.A, Greater Birmingham Humane Society, Phil Doster, Greater Birmingham Human Society, Karen Peterlin, The Alabama State House, The Alabama State Senate, and Governor Kay Ivey

Banfield Animal Hospital needs to be held accountable for pet deaths and bill padding.

Please stop Banfield Hospital from over immunizing pets, pet death and also inflating patients' bills; THIS IS AN UNETHCIAL PRACTICE

Why is this important?

On the evening of August 29, at approximately 6:15 pm, I brought my 12 week old miniature schnauzer, Kobe to Banfield Pet Hospital at 3780 Riverchase Village, Hoover, AL 35244 because we noticed labored breathing of Kobe. At home, around 4 pm, Kobe appeared to be in distress and exhibited labored breathing. We rushed him to the facility per the request one of the staff members who answered the phone. Upon arrival, we advised the staff of Kobe’s condition, they immediately took him in for examination, but before they would render any service, they wanted to know how we would be paying; it appeared that their main concern was the method of payment we were using versus Kobe’s well-being. We were told that Kobe’s condition appeared to be from trauma, which we knew was inaccurate, as Kobe had not experienced any type of trauma. Kobe was a "house dog" who we took extra special care of. On the day prior, August 28, Kobe came into Banfield for his scheduled immunization and well-puppy check-up.

During the emergency visit on August 29th, the vet constantly asked, did anything happen after the shots? She asked numerous of times throughout the visit about the shots, this raised red flags for me eventually. I had to wonder was she asking because they were aware that something happened during his immunizations. When the hour approached 7 p.m., we were advised that the facility was closing, therefore, their work was done and we needed to take Kobe to a local emergency animal hospital 10 miles down the street. Kobe was barely breathing when we were sent away. He was gasping for air. While we were rushing out of the facility, with the hopes that Kobe’s life could be saved, we were approached and informed by the billing account manager that she forgot to charge us for blood work, after we had already paid over $600...I had my puppy in my arms dying, while being harassed for more money. How insensitive! My only concern was getting Kobe to the emergency hospital. She advised me that she would send my account to collection on the same day for the additional $126 if I didn’t pay immediately….they were full aware that Kobe was in grave condition, but the only concern for Banfield’s staff was the money. I told her to do what she needed to do because I was rushing Kobe to the hospital in hopes of saving his life.

The vet and facility manager alerted the Animal Hospital that we were on the way there. The facility manager of Banfield then asked me how I planned on paying for the services at the animal hospital because it would run in the tune of a couple of thousands of dollars. She then offered me a credit care application, because of her assumptions that we could not pay for the services, she then alerted the animal hospital that we would applying for credit (again based on her assumptions).

We finally arrived at the animal hospital were Kobe was immediately placed on oxygen and administered meds. We were approached as to how we would be paying for his care because it appears that Banfield relayed that we would need credit to pay for continued care. It was speculated that Kobe was more than likely over-immunized or had some type birth defect. If it were the latter, it should have been detected by Banfield during his prior visits; especially since he was seen less than 24 hours prior was his check-up. Kobe’s condition worsened in minutes…he was in so much distress that the vet suggested that we should opt to euthanize Kobe. We experienced the worse nightmare and watched Kobe take his last breath. We were told that he suffered from epistaxis, pulmonary edema, labored breathing and respiratory distress. It is puzzling to me how a very healthy 12 week old puppy, who was examined and immunized less than 24 hours prior is now deceased.

I am completely stunned and outraged as to the way my family and I were treated in a crisis. Kobe did not deserve to die. Neither the staff nor the vets at Banfield showed any compassion; their one and only concern was money.

I contacted the store on the following day and spoke to a staff member to settle the final bill of $126 and was advised that the billing account manager had already sent my account to collections in less than 10 hours. This was unbelievable! I did, however fulfill my final financial obligation with Banfield. I asked to speak to the store manager and was advised that she was off for the next couple of days. I finally was able to reach the store manager two days later to advise her as to what happened. Although she was very apologetic, this didn’t rectify why Kobe died literally in the hands of Banfield’s neglectful staff and why I was so grossly mistreated. I understand that everyone may not be “pet lovers”, but if you are in the business of caring for pets, you should be. Kobe was “my child,” I am suffering a tremendous loss. My 11 year old daughter and I had to watch Kobe die and no one cared.

There are several things that need to happen with this practice: Immunizations needs to be looked into further; especially when dealing with an infant puppy, an investigation should be rendered as to how many puppies have died or experienced anaphylaxis or other problems because of immunization and staff needs to be more compassionate, along with many other complaints.

Looking back on the day of the vaccinations, I noticed Kobe being very lethargic, whimpering and a presence of diarrhea; however, I attributed this to a normal reaction from immunizations and was also advised the day prior by the vet that he would more than likely be very sleepy.

There have been numerous of complaints and lawsuits lodged against Banfield for its neglect, incompetencies and unethical behavior. Over the past several years, a number of veterinarians have complained that Banfield is extremely low quality and profit driven. Numerous of complaints were lodged against Banfield including the promotion of over-vaccination of pets. In 2010, a former V...