My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Last Chance Animal Rescue Inc, Waldorf, MD, USA
This is long, but if it prevents someone from having the same awful experience I did, then I'm satisfied...
I've had pets my whole life, have volunteered at shelters, and also work at an animal hospital. I feel I have a pretty good handle on animal health, care, and the costs and potential concerns that involve owning a pet. Nothing prepared me for the horrible ordeal of dealing with Last Chance Animal Rescue.
I adopted a 13 wk old kitten from LCAR through a local Petsmart. He was playful, and when invited to hold him, he fell asleep almost immediately in my arms. His records from LCAR said he was healthy (signed off on by two of their veterinarians) and had had his boosters.
I only had him for a day or two though, when I noticed he would tire out very quickly from minor play. He would just plop down and sleep, then wake up and try to play again, but seem worn out. I took him to the vet where I work to get him checked out, and the findings were alarming. The first vet immediately heard a severe holosystolic heart murmur, likening his heartbeat to the sound of a whirring, leaking washing machine. The second vet, who had completed a cardiology residency, verified the diagnosis. They said it's a rare heart murmur (about 1 out of 100 cases of heart murmurs have his type) and the prognosis was guarded to poor.
My frustration came when my boyfriend who has never had a pet could literally hold my kitten up and very clearly hear something off with his heart. It didn't sound like a normal heartbeat at all.
I absolutely understand that animals come with unexpected health concerns, but WHY would two Last Chance Animal Rescue veterinarians let such an unhealthy animal be cleared for adoption, or without a special needs label?
Even working at a vet, I couldn't afford further diagnostics from a specialist, and even then, his heart issue could get very bad very fast. I was warned that with heart issues in kittens, they can develop quite quickly and one day I might just come home and find him dead. I was literally heartbroken.
I contacted LCAR and voiced my concern. I was offered a new cat in exchange, but I really didn't want a new cat. I had wanted a cat made available in good faith that he was healthy! I also didn't trust the medical knowledge or care of their staff at this point. They said they would consider my request for a refund, but to bring the kitten back. It was one of the most difficult decisions I've ever made, but I knew that I couldn't afford the cost of his heart issues at such a young age, and that if he were adopted out with the proper warning assigned, someone who could afford his care could help him better than I could.
We couldn't return the kitten to the Petsmart, we had to take him all the way to Waldorf. Their headquarters and where the animals are held is a literal heck hole. We accidentally walked in a back door into a low-ceilinged basement. There were animals packed into small stacked cages with fans running. I don't know if there was central air or not. We ran into a staff member who literally appeared from a dark door and they pointed us to the top floor-- the "office" and other holding area. When I signed him back over, they said they'd take him to the vet on staff to get checked out. I said I'd be in contact to send his updated medical records, doctor's notes, and even the results of a cardiomyopathy test I had run, in the hopes that it would paint a better picture of his case. They said they'd get back to me about a refund. I still feel guilty about returning him there, but I didn't know what else to do.
LCAR continued to fumble and twiddle their thumbs. I finally got a hold of them after several attempts. Not only did they refuse me a refund, but they refused his medical records and the test results from our office. The woman I spoke with (or rather, was spoken over by) very literally SCREAMED at me, saying that he "didn't have a heart murmur" and after going on about how difficult her day had been, hung up on me. (a side note: she butt-dialed me from their office at one point and said "that room downstairs is my ******* nightmare.") I have never been spoken to in such a demeaning, condescending fashion, and to deny a diagnosis that even a layperson could hear still worries me. I don't know how many unhealthy animals are adopted out from these people, but it's to where quantity is far surpassing quality. I even contacted the Humane Society of the United States for advice in dealing with them.
Be very aware that LCAR adopts out through Petsmarts all over Maryland. I will NEVER adopt through them again, and make it my mission at work to refer people elsewhere.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Shut it down, clear out the staff, get the building reviewed by animal control, implement proper care protocol, hire competent vets, implement actual customer service, go for quality over quantity, provide refunds if you adopt out an unhealthy pet, take responsibility, be courteous and respectful to clients, actually contact people when you say you will, don't adopt out unhealthy animals, and if you have an animal with special needs, say so. There is an audience for special needs pets.
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