Kingston man claims he was forced to surrender his dog

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A Kingston man brought his dog to the vet to have a cut stitched up - when he couldn't immediately afford the bill, he claims the SPCA forced him to surrender his dog – Mar 14, 2019

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include a statement from the Kingston Mills Veterinary Clinic.                                                                                                           

An seemingly innocent interaction between two dogs has led to a Kingston man losing one of his two canines — and he feels as though he’s lost his dog for trying to do the right thing.

“My dogs are important to me,” Dan Mills said from his Kingston home. “They love me just as much as I love them.”  

On Saturday, Mills says his two dogs fought over a piece of toast that fell on the floor. “Miss B” suffered a cut near her chest, which Mills says was about an inch long. He brought her to the nearest vet clinic, where he was told the bill would be up to $850.

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Mills says he told the staff he had only $400, but promised to pay the rest by the end of the day.

READ MORE: OSPCA informs Ontario government it will no longer enforce animal cruelty laws

At that point, he claims, he was turned away and staff called the SPCA to report an animal in distress whose owner refused medical attention.

Mills says he didn’t refuse the medical care — he just couldn’t pay for it.

WATCH: Puppy surrendered to Ontario SPCA becomes a Toronto police dog (April 2018)

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Puppy surrendered to Ontario SPCA becomes a Toronto police dog – Apr 6, 2018

Once he arrived at home, he says he received a call from the an inspector with the SPCA.

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“The Kingston Mills veterinary clinic told them that it was a four-and-a-half-inch gap,” Mills said. The cut, however, was much smaller, he insists — only an inch long.

“When I tried to show them on the text [message], they told me that was more than an inch and she needs to be surrendered,” he added.

READ MORE: Concerns raised over OSPCA proposal to pull out of livestock cruelty investigations

The SPCA denies the claim he was forced or directed to surrender the animal.

“That decision was made by the owner,” said Melissa Kosowan, associate director of communications with Ontario SPCA. “The Ontario SPCA’s concern was to ensure the animal received the necessary care.”

Feeling defeated, Mills brought Miss B to the Kingston Humane Society.

Global News reached out to the Kingston Humane Society for clarification on the matter and an update on Miss B, but was told that information was private.

The Kingston Mills Veterinary Hospital, where Miss B was initially taken, did not immediately return calls from Global News for comment, but did offer a statement the next day.

It claims that Mills was offered a quote for the procedure, which he then denied, saying he would bring the dog to his own vet.

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“A quote was made for the owner as per all surgical procedures done at Kingston Mills Veterinary Hospital. The owner objected verbally to the quote,” the statement read. “At no time was the owner refused any service for financial reasons.”

In the statement, Kingston Mills Veterinary Hospital said that when it called to check up on the dog, Mills said he was going to wait until Monday to bring her in to his vet.

This is when, according to the statement, the veterinary clinic called the OSPCA, saying it was legally obliged to do so.

On Sunday, Kingston Mills Vetrinary Clinic posted an updated version of the comment provided to Global Kingston two days earlier.

The employee who dealt with Mills on Saturday told Global News over the phone they felt the dog-owner misunderstood what was being said to him because he was emotionally distraught.

Upon hearing the vet’s version of events, Mills says he stands by his initial story.