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Detroit woman frustrated that Michigan veterinary clinics still won’t let pet owners inside

Maureen Kearns shares frustrations after 2 of her dogs died

DETROIT – A Detroit woman is frustrated that Michigan veterinary clinics still aren’t allowing pet owners inside after two of her dogs died in a matter of weeks.

Businesses across the state of Michigan have reopened, but many veterinary clinics are keeping pet parents outside.

Taking a sick pet to the vet can be scary for both pets and owners. Making matters worse, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, owners aren’t being allowed inside vet offices.

Maureen Kearns, of Detroit, said it’s critical to reopen the doors to owners.

“We went from one to three (dogs) in a matter of weeks," Kearns said.

This summer, Kearns had to put Lady Jane down. Then, her other greyhound, Noodle, was diagnosed with cancer.

“The doctor did an x-ray after they took him in by himself,” Kearns said. “Once we got home, he really wouldn’t walk on that leg anymore.”

She wasn’t allowed to go inside the vet’s clinic with Noodle and believes that experience hastened his death.

“It truly was traumatic for my dog,” Kearns said. “I mean, I can understand sitting in the car until it’s time for you to come in. What I’d like to see is just that at least one pet parent be able to go in with the animal.”

In Michigan, veterinarians can decide whether to allow pet owners inside their hospitals. Most have opted for curbside dropoff.

“If we become ill or staff members become ill, we can potentially end up shutting down a hospital, and we already have such a shortage of appointments,” said Melissa Owings, president of the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association.

Owings said she supports the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention guidelines encouraging curbside service to promote social distancing.

“I think the CDC guidelines are excellent,” Owings said. “I think that as veterinarians and health professionals, we need to make sure that we utilize curbside as much as possible.”

“Gyms are opening up,” Kearns said. “Everything’s opening up now. Now that we’re so far down the road and things are starting to open up, it just makes sense to me that vets be one of them.”

Owings said the vast majority of vets want pet parents back inside hospitals, but during a pandemic, safety is paramount.

“We have to be careful about directing our frustration at the people who are providing the care, rather than at the situation, and the situation is the more we can do to prevent the spread of this, the faster we’ll be able to return to having clients come into the hospital and being able to have personal contact,” Owings said.

Anyone with questions about a clinic’s policies should call ahead.


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