RED BANK, NJ – A man from Hoboken is suing Red Bank Veterinary Hospital and its parent company after nurses allegedly failed to reveal that his pet’s head would be removed and disposed of after a post-mortem rabies test.
Mario Quesada adopted a pound of kitten Cupid in April 2013, just a month after his sister died of suicide, his mother’s rapid onset of Parkinson’s disease and dementia, and his cousin’s “sudden and traumatic” death. The cat provided “immeasurable emotional support” to Mario during these difficult times, according to the lawsuit, which received regular rabies shots and never left his family’s fourth-floor unit.
Cupid’s time with the quesadas would be tragically shortened, however: he fell ill with a blood clot disorder in 2014 and was put to sleep on June 25, 2017 after becoming “completely flaccid” and having difficulty breaking.
After the cat was euthanized, a heartbroken quesada held Cupid’s body, sang, and spoke to it before a vet walked in and said Cupid had bitten one of the other nurses. The vet went on to say that they had to take a sample of brain tissue to test for rabies. Mario reportedly turned over Cupid’s vaccination records to the vet, who allegedly said Cupid’s body would be taken to Hamilton Pet Meadow for cremation the next day. Quesada then informed the vet that he intended to view Cupid’s body.
However, a voicemail that went to Quesada the next day revealed that he had given the hospital the wrong information and that Cupid’s body could not be released until the state finished rabies tests. When Quesada finally looked at Cupid’s body on June 30 after the rabies results were negative, the Hoboken man was shocked after being presented with his pet’s headless body, a towel that should have been on Cupid’s head.
“Mario did not know before arriving at Hamilton Pet Meadow that Friday that Cupid had been beheaded. Instead, Mario saw the horror of seeing the headless body of his beloved pet,” the lawsuit said. “While he was still at Hamilton Pet Meadow, Mario called the Department of Health and they confirmed the worst: Cupid’s head had been disposed of as medical waste the days before.”
Hamilton Pet Meadow staff continued to be “concerned about Mario’s ability to return to Hoboken safely” after he was “shocked, cried and screamed” in front of customers. That evening, Mario called the local police and asked if they could put him in a grief counseling service.
After calming down, Quesada called a technical supervisor at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital later that night who allegedly said there are ways to get a brain tissue sample without decapitating the body, but that the hospital always just “does it.” whole head sends “.
She also confirmed that once the state finishes testing, the hospital will be able to request that the head be returned. The lawsuit goes on to claim that the technical director told Mario that the reason the vet and hospital used a euphemism for the test is because “Doctors usually don’t tell people because they think they do Animal goes to cremation and they don’t. ” want to upset someone. “
“No one had previously communicated these options to Mario in any way,” the lawsuit said. “The equipment needed to take a sample of brain tissue without decapitating an animal’s head is relatively cheap and easy to get, but the hospital had decided either not to have this equipment or to not use it. “
The lawsuit also alleges that the New Jersey Veterinary Procedures Manual states, “In situations where the pet owner is upset that their pet will be beheaded for rabies testing, practitioners can remove the brain, submit it for testing, and remove the body return the animal to the owner in (almost) intact condition. ”
“The hospital violated its duty to request the return of Cupid’s head by not informing Mario that it was removed at all and then not asking if Mario wanted the head to be returned,” it says Legal action.
Following the events, Quesada had a number of severe mental health issues that he had not previously suffered from, such as: For example: The need for ongoing professional advice and medication, insomnia, incapacity for work, outbursts of anger, flashbacks, hypervigilance, panic attacks, nightmares, depression and anxiety, thoughts of suicide and impulses for self-harm, and other symptoms of trauma.
Quesada is suing Red Bank Veterinary Hospital and its parent company Compassion First Pet Hospitals for causing emotional distress, bail and negligence. He demands that the accused be granted loss of wages, pain and suffering and other compensation.
The Hoboken man recently testified before the Senate Environment and Energy Committee in March on a bill requiring owners to be notified if their pet is about to be beheaded for rabies tests. While the legislation originally included a provision giving pet owners alternative options to beheading, the provision was dropped after officials from the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association testified that improper removal of just an animal’s brain could affect testing.