Dog dies after trip to Valley veterinary hospital

ANTHEM, AZ – A north Phoenix couple is still angry over the loss of their dog, which they found dead on the side the highway after it somehow dashed out of a veterinary hospital last week.

Hannah, a 7-year-old Maltese, was supposed to undergo a simple dental procedure last Thursday.

“Ian took her in at around 8 o’clock and they said you can pick her up at around 5 [pm],” said Rachelle VanDerWyst.

When Ian, Rachelle’s husband, went to pick up Hannah he was told the dog had ran away.

The couple recalled becoming hysterical, not knowing what to do so they set out to search for their dog, who they consider their child.

“It was about two hours, two and half hours of searching at about 7 o’clock as I was still driving around, the phone rang,” Rachelle said. “He started screaming, ‘She’s dead, she’s dead. I found her on the highway. She’s dead.'”

“We were like shaking, just in shock for about two days. We haven’t been able to sleep. We haven’t been able to eat,” she said.

The couple wonders how a 13-pound dog, still groggy from anesthesia, could have taken off.

Dr. Chris Snodgrass, one of the owners of the Animal Hospital at Anthem, said Hannah was recovering, seemed agitated, so staff took her out thinking she may need to relieve herself.

Snodgrass said Hannah was double leashed, but said she somehow got away.

Snodgrass agreed it’s a tragic incident and took full responsibility for the incident.

“They say she was on a leash and a harness and when I found her body I didn’t find any evidence of any leash or any harness,” Ian said.

“We were looking desperately for hours in that field in the dark, in the rain,” he said.

“No support, no sense of urgency…no remorse,” Rachelle said.

“We put our trust in them and they claim to be a caring hospital and they never contacted us once. They never said sorry, they were just trying to cover this whole thing up,” he said.

The hospital paid for Hannah’s cremation.

They’re also revisiting the rules when it comes to taking pets outside, according to Snodgrass.

He said something like that has never happened at the clinic.

“I don’t know why anyone would want to go there. It’s a terrible place and they’re not going to get away with it,” Rachelle said.

The hospital’s insurance company is reportedly trying to hash out a settlement with the couple.  The couple tells ABC15 the company has rejected all of their offers.

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