PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A Largo animal lover wants answers after she said the rescue cat she adopted turned vicious. She called ABC Action News after discovering the animal was placed back on the adoption list.
Judy Moen said two days after adopting a cat named Sam from SPCA Tampa Bay in Largo, he started coughing and it appeared the 1-year-old cat was struggling to breathe.
Vet bills show Moen took Sam to a veterinarian for treatment.
“They told me they thought he had pneumonia,” said Moen.
ABC Action News obtained the veterinarian’s notes, which say Sam was prescribed medications for coughing and vomiting.
Moen said she nursed the cat back to health over the next week.
“There were nights where I didn't think he was going to make it through the night,” said Moen. “He would just sit there and gurgle.”
But days later, Moen said Sam attacked her right leg for no reason and the wound on her calf was still prominent a month later.
The next day, she said Sam attacked her left leg and would not let go.
“He was trying to bite – like put his mouth around my leg – and he was scratching,” said Moen. “Blood was going everywhere.”
Moen showed ABC Action News the scars on her leg and photos she said were taken right after the attack. She said she was scared Sam might hurt her other cat, Jazzy, so she returned Sam to the SPCA in December.
Moen said the SPCA sent her a check for $136 to cover the adoption fee and some of the medications, but the vet bills totaled more than $600.
Plus, ABC Action News discovered Sam was adopted out again in January.
Consumer Investigator Jackie Callaway asked the SPCA how they handle animals that have been returned after a reported attack. The SPCA said in a statement.
As a For-All Shelter we care about well-being and safety of all animals and people in our community. All animals at SPCA Tampa Bay receive an exam from a veterinarian. We average more than 60 adoptions a week and we ask our pet’s new family to take their animal to their veterinarian for a physical exam within five business days.
We can assure her that when animals are surrendered to us, we receive information from previous owners such us health and behavior. If any animal is reported as to having a bite or scratch history, they are placed in quarantine and their behavior is assessed for amount of time. Then we determine what type of adoptable family would fit the animal before putting them back on the adoption floor. If the new owner requests information about an animal’s history in our care, we will give it to them.
The SPCA also reports scratch and attack reports to the county.
Potential adopters can find out whether an animal up for adoption has attacked before by filing a public records request with the Pinellas County Health Department.