Euthanized cat leads to policy change at Humane Society

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PHOENIX -- Daniel Dockery calls a small apartment home, in the same Phoenix tire shop where he works as a janitor. He says pets have always been one of the joys in his life. No pet more than Scruffy.

"You don't know how we bonded. How much she meant to me here," he said. 

But pictures are all that's left of her after she seriously hurt herself after getting caught on some barbed wire at the shop.

"I picked her up and put her on the bed, and I saw the meat exposed on her back leg and I said oh my God what happened!" Dockery said.

He rushed Scruffy to the Humane Society, but he didn't have the almost $400 it would take to treat her. So he called his mother, who lives out of state,  who offered to read her credit-card number over the phone.  But the Arizona Humane Society does not accept payment over the phone. It also couldn't wait until the next day for Dockery to get the money. Vets would only treat Scruffy if he signed over ownership.

Dockery signed her over, but Scruffy wasn't treated. She was taken to Second Chance Animal Hospital, where she was behind two other cats that needed more immediate attention. Staff decided it was most humane to euthanize Scruffy.

"It was sad. It was really sad. Because it was about money," said Dockery. 

Stacey Pearson, speaking for the Humane Society, called it the worst-case scenario. But because of Scruffy, the Arizona Humane Society changed its policy.  It now will accept payment over the phone and plans are also forming for a fund that could cover treatment up front, that owners could later repay.