The cost of health care is rising and people are now forgoing proper medical treatment because they can no longer afford to pay the upfront costs for remedy—for their pets.
According to Stamford Animal Care & Control Shelter Officer Tilford Cobb, there's been an increase in calls to the shelter from vets stating people are bringing injured animals in but leaving before receiving treatment because they can't afford the bills.
On Thursday, October 24, there was a cat with a broken leg that was denied treatment.
"We got one call about a person who brought a cat in with a broken leg," Cobb said. "The girl's boyfriend was carrying something and tried to shoo the kitten with his foot, but accidentally kicked it."
Cobb said the day prior, a pitbull was brought to a number of vets around Stamford by a woman seeking somewhere where she could afford to have the dog properly examined.
"She couldn't afford the care. She was quoted $2,200 to fix the broken leg," Cobb said, and explained ultimately the woman paid $600 to have the leg bandaged before seeking out more affordable medical attention at a vet in New York. "If we hear about it, we'll try to help them with resources depending on the situation."
Cobb said sometimes organizations like Outreach to Pets In Need (OPIN) or STARelief are able to assist with the bills, or in some cases, owners in financial trouble can apply for credit lines and monetary assistance. Other times, Cobb said, the shelter will take the pet for care if it's signed over to them by someone who just has no other means.
"We've had at least four calls like that in the recent past," Cobb said. "People are just having so much trouble being able to pay for this care, and in lots of cases they're being turned away by vets when the owners can't come up with the money."