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Hertford woman says cat died because of SPCA treatment

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Posted at 11:33 PM, Dec 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-06 23:33:58-05

Dotty Horton thought the SPCA was a safe place for her cat. However, after ten days, Dotty says 13-year-old Gigi was so malnourished that there was no choice but to put her down.

"When the vet came in and gave her the injection, it took her ten seconds,” Dotty says. “That's how weak she was before she was gone."

An indoor cat all her life, Dotty says Gigi was not up to date on her rabies vaccine. After nipping the groomer, Gigi was sent to the SPCA of Northeastern North Carolina to be quarantined.

Gigi may have been old, but Dotty says she was a happy and healthy cat.

Dotty says she drove up to the shelter to visit three times, but says she never really got to check on Gigi.

"They wouldn't let me in to see her or touch her, or hold her," she says.

On pick-up day, Dotty says Gigi was so dehydrated that she couldn't even swallow.

"She couldn't stand up,” Dotty says. “She couldn't even hold her head to get to the water bowl."

With no vet office open on the weekend, Dotty says her only option was an on-call emergency vet.

"This is the IV solution that we got from the emergency vet," Dotty says, holding up the fluid bag to show us.

But on Monday, the vet told Dotty that Gigi had kidney and liver failure. She saw no other choice than to euthanize.

"How can they figure that's humane to let a cat starve or dehydrate like that,” Dotty asks. “Somebody had to know what's going on."

A manager with the SPCA told NewsChannel 3 over the phone that with no vet on staff, it's difficult to monitor every animal's health. If there was any concern by the staff, the SPCA says it would have been addressed.

Dotty hopes that what her cat went through will never happen again.

"I don't want it happening to anybody else because it's heartbreaking,” she says.

The president of the SPCA of Northeastern North Carolina, Kim Parrish, says it is common for elderly cats like Gigi to be stressed out in a new environment, but if a staff member sees that an animal is not eating, they are required to notify a manager. Parrish did not say if that was done in Gigi’s case.