This is veterinary malpractice Pakistan-style. It is interesting for the insight it provides into life in Pakistan for cat owners.
Dr Atia Masood is an assistant professor at Punjab University. Her regular vet was Dr Awais Anees.
She used to pay her vet’s bills in an interesting way for Westerners.
“I used to take my (male) cat to Dr Awais Anees and pay him Rs6,000 per visit whenever it fell sick.”
A standard fee without reference to the illness or treatment required. Strange.
This time the vet demanded 25,000 rupees ($393 USD) but Dr Masood, the cat’s owners refused and offered 10,000 rupees. She asked him to demand no more. This is unusual or unheard of in the West as it is bargaining as if in a bazaar.
According to Dr Masood, the vet became annoyed and deliberately killed her cat by administering five injections and a drip. Afterwards, she said that her vet ran off.
The cat’s owner wanted justice so she went to the police station. The SHO (Station House Officer) refused to take action.
The cat’s owner then went to a lower court applying to the Justice of Peace (JP) but her application was dismissed. It failed to get off the ground.
The cat owner’s argument was straightforward and based on common sense. Her barrister put it like this:
“If he fails to provide the proper treatment, his licence should be cancelled. Action should be taken against incompetent and careless doctors,”
At a higher court – the Lahore HIgh Court – on a further application to seek justice she requested the judge to overrule the order of the JP and allow Dr Masood to register her complaint against the doctor under section 429 of the Pakistan Penal Code under which a person can be imprisoned for five years is he/she deliberately kills an animal.
There is no mention in this story of complaining to a Veterinary Board charged with upholding standards. All efforts were in seeking to charge the vet with a criminal offence.
I can see a lot of difficulty in winning the case despite the fact that it seems that her cat was deliberately killed.
Dr Masood will have to negotiate the minefield that is the Pakistan justice system and then prove the almost unprovable, that a vet deliberately killed her cat rather than negligently did so. Negligence is not usually a crime and negligence is not necessarily actionable because all vets make mitakes from time to time. Nonetheless I wish Dr Masood the best of luck.
Note: the cat pictured is not the cat concerned.