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Vet won’t release my cat – what can I do?


Took my cat to be neutered was told it would cost $200 +$20 for booster shot. Went to pick him up and could not make it before vet office closed. Now he won't release him until bill $220 + $80 a night is paid in full but I have surgery money. He won't work out an arrangement or anything and I really need my cat home, he is all I have please help what can I do I'm in NJ.


Worth noting is the following NJ law:

NJSA section 45:16-15. Humane disposal of unretrieved animals; notice to owner

A veterinarian or boarding kennel may elect the humane disposal of an unretrieved animal no sooner than 4 days after the owner or agent thereof has signed or refused to sign for the receipt of a certified letter from the veterinarian or boarding kennel owner indicating intent to humanely dispose of the animal, which letter shall be sent to the owner's or agent's last known address. In the event the owner cannot be notified by certified mail, return receipt requested, the veterinarian or boarding kennel owner may elect humane disposal any time after 4 days following return of the certified mail receipt. The veterinarian or boarding kennel manager shall keep an accurate record of the date and method of disposal and the name, address and telephone number of the person or shelter receiving the animal.

There is an organization in New Jersey, Lawyers in Defense of Animals,, which states on its website that it gets involved in legal matters affecting animals. However, if they cannot locate an attorney to intervene pro bono (for free), consider it would probably cost more to pay an attorney than to pay the veterinarian to get your cat released. One who believes he/she made an overpayment as a result of an animal being held ‘hostage’ may sue for a refund (and more). Then it would be up to a judge to decide the rights of the respective parties, but at least the animal would already be home.

Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott


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