Knightstown veterinarian accused of improper euthanization

Posted at 1:12 PM, Feb 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-08 23:37:07-05

KNIGHTSTOWN, Ind. -- A veterinarian in Knightstown, Indiana is accused of inhumanly euthanizing a family's pet cat by taping its paws together. 

According to a complaint issued by Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, an unnamed father and daughter brought their 15-year-old family cat named Sweetpea to the Knightstown Veterinary Hospital at 8562 W. US Highway 40 on Feb. 13, 2016. Sweetpea had lost weight, and was vomiting and drinking water excessively.

The complaint alleges that James A. Wilson, the veterinarian at the hospital, examined the cat and stated that she most likely had kidney failure. The father and daughter said they wanted to end her suffering in a humane way and decided to have her euthanized. 

According to the complaint, Wilson tied her front paws together with masking tape, and tied one of her back legs to the examination table with twine. The daughter then said, "Please don't do that to her, don't treat her like that." Wilson replied by saying he needed to find a vein, according to the document.

She then became upset and left the room, as the father entered. When he asked why she was taped and tied to the table, Wilson replied by saying that if the cat bit him, he would have to cut off its head and have it sent to a laboratory, the complaint alleges.

"I do tape cats legs so they don't bite and scratch us. It's the only way we can get them to hold still without getting bitten. It's the only way I can keep my people from getting hurt themselves sometimes," Wilson told RTV6.

After Sweetpea was injected, she allegedly had an "excitement period" where she convulsed 10-15 times, flayed and gasped repeatedly.

"I didn't tie the legs to the table. I put a string on it and pushed it against the table so the cat could pull loose if it wanted to," said Wilson.

The complaint says Wilson failed to carefully consider and respect the owner's relationship and failed to exercise the reasonable care and diligence exercised by members of his profession.

Based on this case, another similar case alleged by a different family, and the lack of medical records at the animal hospital, Hill has requested he be disciplined by the Indiana Board of Veterinary Examiners. 

A hearing for the case has been set for April 25.

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