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Woman wants compensation after dog bred as stud mistakenly neutered at Roanoke Rapids animal clinic

Posted February 11, 2021 5:48 p.m. EST
Updated February 12, 2021 3:34 p.m. EST

— A routine trip to the vet turned into heartbreak and a costly loss for a Roanoke Rapids dog owner.

Haley Plymale scheduled her 2-year-old blue Doberman, Hannibal, for a teeth cleaning, but he was mistakenly neutered at Creekside Animal Hospital.

"He is our first family pet. We love him to death. He's a good-looking dog. I wanted a little piece of him to keep in the family forever," said Plymale, adding that she had planned to breed puppies to keep and sell.

On Tuesday, when she took him to his appointment, she was not allowed inside the building as a precaution during the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, she drove up and handed Hannibal over to a staff member.

"About an hour and a half after I dropped him off, the vet herself called me. I could tell she was really upset," said Plymale.

She said the clinic's owner, Dr. Cynthia Elias, told her one of the vet techs had made a mistake, and Hannibal had been neutered.

"She said this had never happened to her before. She sounded like she was in tears," said Plymale.

Plymale said she thinks that the staff may have confused her dog with another Doberman, but she said the outside drop-off was also to blame.

"I think, had I been able to go inside the office with them and sit in a room and sign all the paperwork in there, and had the vet tech come to me and say, 'Oh, he's here for a neuter.' I could have said, ‘No, you have the wrong dog,'" she added.

On its website, the clinic describes itself as a "full-service, modern" hospital with a "highly trained staff."

Elias issued a statement Friday saying she has "a heavy heart" because of the incident.

"As animal lovers and veterinarians we care deeply for our patients, and strive to treat every one as if they were family," she wrote. "We realize an incident like this is not okay, and want you to know we have already implemented additional preventative measures to make sure it can’t happen again."

Plymale said while the vet did not charge for any of the procedures, it's not enough.

Now, she wants compensation for what she lost, and she's consulted with an attorney about seeking damages from the clinic.

"I spent a lot of time and money on this dog, and breeding him is something I really wanted. It was a goal of mine," she added.

Elias said she couldn't go into detail about what happened because of Plymale's potential lawsuit.

"Our first choice is always to set things right by working out issues directly with clients, and we recognize it’s reasonable to be upset about a mistake being made," she wrote. "[P]ending litigation prevents us from saying much other than that we immediately contacted the owner directly, we are working with our insurance to provide compensation, and we are always here to talk to anyone who has questions or concerns

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