'He just shrugged and smirked': Woman says vet refuses to treat pet unless she pays 'walk-in fee'

'He just shrugged and smirked': Woman says vet refuses to treat pet unless she pays 'walk-in fee'
PHOTO: Facebook/Juliet Isabella, Facebook/Complaint Singapore

[UPDATE March 10] Speaking to AsiaOne on Friday (March 10), Ohana VetCare said that their walk-in consultation fee quoted to Isabella was $72.11 in total. This is compared to $44.93 for a normal scheduled appointment consult fee.

“It’s to discourage walk-ins,” Dr Francis Tay, a veterinarian there said, when asked about the difference in fee amount. 

“These clients disrupt our schedule and ultimately result in longer waiting times for those who scheduled appointments, staff skipping meals and poorer patient care.” 

Admitting that he smirked and “wasn’t nice” to Isabella, Dr Tay said they are not an emergency clinic or a hospital.

The pet owner “was threatening and manipulative” when the nurse “nicely advised” her that their evening appointment slots are full and that there would be an extra charge if they saw her cat, according to the vet. 

Dr Tay said: "She was trying to get preferential treatment by [wanting to speak to me].

“It was my intention not to see her at all right from the start… I’m glad she refused to pay for a walk-in consultation charge so that I had a legitimate reason to ask her to leave.” 

"The job as a vet or nurse is “not easy”, Dr Tay added. 

“The effects of clients being mean can’t be easily measured, but I’m sure it has contributed to people leaving the industry."

Cat owner Juliet Isabella wanted to seek help from a veterinary clinic after her beloved pet cat became unwell.

But on March 3, she was allegedly made to leave the clinic, Ohana VetCare at Loyang Point, after she questioned its "walk-in fee" for treatment. 

Taking to Facebook on Tuesday (March 7), Isabella shared that her feline friend Hachi had vomited a few times while suffering inflammation in its "private area".

She tried calling the clinic "many times", but claimed that no one picked up the phone.

Screenshots shared on social media showed that Isabella rang the clinic seven times from 6.24pm to 7.27pm that day.

Ohana VetCare's opening hours are 10am to 12pm, 2pm to 6pm, and 7pm to 9pm.

Isabella wrote: "Animals can't talk, they can't tell you ... they are unwell. The vets are their voices. Don't you think it's strange that they are uncontactable for so long?

"They house sick pets at their clinic too. That's so frustrating and wrong."

When she failed to book an appointment through a phone call, Isabella said that she drove Hachi to the clinic and arrived at 8pm.

Adding that the clinic was not packed, with three members of staff at the counter, the cat owner said that a nurse told her to pay a "walk-in fee" of $72.11.

After expressing scepticism over the additional payment, Isabella shared that an "unfriendly" vet stepped in with an ultimatum.

She said: "He never once bothered to ask me what happened to Hachi. He only made it clear to me that if I don't pay the extra walk-in fee of $72.11, he will not see or treat [my cat] at all.

"I asked [the vet], 'How do I make an appointment when no one even bothers to pick up my numerous calls?'. He just shrugged, smirked and didn't reply to me.

"The vet [also] sarcastically [said] 'If you are not happy with our service, you can go & see another vet clinic'." 

Isabella shared that the vet then "stood up and opened the door" in an apparent signal for her and Hachi to leave the clinic.

"Please be cautious when choosing the right vet for your furkiddo. Don't feel obliged or fall prey into paying any additional pet service fee which cannot be justified without a valid reason," she warned in the Facebook post.

In Nov 2019, Ohana VetCare suspended two of its nurses after a video of them behaving inappropriately with animals in the clinic was posted online.

The video, which went viral on Facebook and Instagram, showed the duo throwing a dog's castrated testicles around the clinic. One of the nurses was even seen juggling them.

ALSO READ: 'Grieved beyond words': Couple euthanise sick dog, only to realise hospital handed them wrong medication


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