An appeals court has ruled that a Hoboken man can sue a Monmouth County Emergency Vet Hospital over the traumatic discovery that his beloved cat’s body was beheaded after falling asleep.
Mario Quesada said in his lawsuit that the vet and Red Bank Veterinary Hospital staff only told him that a brain tissue sample was needed from “Cupid,” the cat he suddenly euthanized in June 2017 after the rescue animal had a critical condition Point had developed blood clots at the base of his heart.
The cat appeared to have bitten one of the nurses during the trial, and although Quesada offered his pet’s full medical records – which he had brought back from her usual veterinarian – the hospital intended to test for rabies, according to the lawsuit originally filed in June 2019.
When he arrived at a pet funeral home in Mercer County a few days later, the negative rabies test result confirmed: “Instead, Mario saw the horror of seeing the headless body of his beloved pet with a towel where Cupid’s head should have been.” his lawsuit.
Quesada had told staff at the Tinton Falls vet office that he was planning a private viewing of his cat prior to cremation and that no prior concerns had been raised.
“In fear and indignation,” he called the veterinary clinic, which referred him to state health officials, who said the cat’s entire head had been thrown away as medical waste days earlier.
Quesada and his parents had adopted the animal as a one-pound kitten four years earlier after his sister’s death and his mother’s “rapid onset” of Parkinson’s disease and dementia. They found that the cat provided critical emotional support. The pet was diagnosed with heart disease in 2014 and was treated until he died.
The cruel surprise of his pet’s headless body at the funeral home sparked a panic attack, according to Quesada’s lawsuit, and led to long-term mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and outbursts of anger.
His lawsuit against the hospital and its parent company, Compassion First Pet Hospitals, was initially dismissed in September 2019. An order issued two months later denied Quesada’s request for reconsideration because a judge referred to the case as a “spectator” liability instead of a “direct” liability claim.
In April, an appeals court overturned that decision and allowed the lawsuit.
At least one technical supervisor Quesada spoke to after his pet was beheaded at the veterinary clinic said that this is not the only test method, but that the facility usually just “sends the whole head,” depending on the suit quoting the technician as saying : “Doctors usually don’t tell people because they believe the animal is going to be cremated and they don’t want to upset anyone.”
The lawsuit quoted the government’s manual on veterinary procedures, published in June 2017, as saying, “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 return Body of the animal to the owner in (almost) intact condition. “
The appeal and lawsuit was first reported by the Asbury Park Press.
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