When vets in Pakistan have no remorse about losing or killing your pet because “animals don’t feel pain”

Published: October 14, 2017
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Biskey is a member of my family, and I pray he gets healthy soon. PHOTO: MARRIYA MALIK

The issue I would like to address might not resonate with each and every one of you, but that does not and will not make it any less significant.

I’m not a proponent of bringing others down or spoiling their reputation just because they made a mistake, but I believe one has to put their foot down at some point, if not to redeem the loss, then at least to prevent it from happening again.

I was recently faced with a traumatising situation where I witnessed crudeness, insensitivity and unprofessionalism in the purest of forms.

A few days ago, I admitted my cat Biskey at Dr Khan’s clinic (E11, Islamabad) as it was suffering from constant high temperature. When I went back to pick it up, I was casually informed that it had ran away; that he somehow managed to crack open the lock and escaped. Moreover, the doctor had the audacity to claim that I was the one at fault because I did not “warn” him about my cat’s devious capabilities. Following the incident, I, along with my friends, looked for my cat in every nook and corner of nearby buildings and streets, but all in vain.

When we went back to the clinic the next day to check up on their search team, to our surprise, they were going about their day without paying any heed to what happened the day before. As soon as we became more forceful in asking them to step up their search efforts, things took a turn for the worse.

Posted by Marriya Malik on Sunday, October 8, 2017

What followed was nothing less than abuse and aggression in the crudest of forms. In an effort to maintain respect and dignity, I did not stoop to their level, but I did threaten to sue their clinic to which they responded,

“Police cannot do anything. What do you even think you can achieve by suing? We are not going to look for your cat. To hell with you, go do whatever you can, we don’t give a damn!”

I was left speechless; not only was my cat lost due to their incompetence, but they felt no remorse and instead were attacking me. I went back and shared my experience on Facebook, receiving support as well stories from people who had similar experiences.

Soon enough, the story picked up and I started hearing from more and more people about incidents where their pets were mishandled or misdiagnosed, causing them severe illness and even death.

In none of these cases did the doctors take any responsibility or feel any remorse for their actions, as the main objective is and always has been simply to make money.

It is extremely heart-breaking to see veterinary clinics running solely for the sake of money, without any regard whatsoever for animal care and the affection that people have for their pets. The vets here fail to fathom the fact that pets are treated and loved like family members.

My question is, how do these vets get licenses and certification to run and operate medical clinics? More importantly, why does the Pakistan Medical Veterinary Council (PMVC) exist if there is no monitoring or checks and balances? Just because they are animals who cannot speak for themselves does not make it okay to be negligent. Forget living creatures – if you give your cell phone to a repair shop and the shopkeeper loses it, wouldn’t it boil your blood? Wouldn’t you make him pay? A cell phone is an object; animals on the other hand are living creatures. Why, then, is this simple fact so hard for our people to fathom?

The belief here is that only the privileged class have pets and thus its a good business to make some money, without any due consideration to the emotional investment people have towards animals. Had this incident happened somewhere in the US or Europe, the vet would have been fined heavily or at the very least lost their license.

My sole concern is to speak up against this cruelty towards animals and take initiative to amend the processes in animal health care organisations in Pakistan. A similar case happened back in 2015 to Sundus Hoorain, who lost her cat due to the mistreatment of another clinic and sued the vet for Rs25 million, accusing him of carelessness that resulted in the death of her cat. She also made a plea to the veterinary council to have CCTVs installed in the clinics to keep an eye on how the animals are being treated.

I believe there should be a central complaint management system in every city enforced by PMVC to check and monitor veterinary clinics. While I say that, I am aware that government institutes rarely take initiatives, which is why I am working on setting up a complaint and feedback system for vet clinics of Islamabad and Rawalpindi and am going to continue to raise my voice until it is heard. With the resources at my disposal, I would feel equally responsible if I simply do nothing to bring about a change, or even the first ripple of it.

Update: I ended up finding Biskey five days after it went missing, and it was nothing short of a miracle!

Though he is not in very good shape, as he was hiding outside with a cannula and stitches, I can’t describe how happy I am that he’s back. Upon taking him to another vet, I found out that he was given an overdose of anaesthesia which led to fever and he has now developed kidney infection as well. Biskey is a member of my family, and I pray he gets well and healthy soon.

My horrible experience with the vets in Pakistan has taught me to never trust the so-called doctor blindly, and to never ever leave the animal unattended.

Given that, I will continue to take legal action against Dr Khan’s clinic. Just because I was able to recover my cat (without any help from them, whatsoever), it does not mitigate the irresponsibility and negligent behavior from their end. I will continue to speak up against the unfair practices of animal clinics in Pakistan till there are some form of checks and balances, simply because someone needs to or there will never be a change.

Marriya Malik

Marriya Malik

The author is a digital marketer by profession and a social activist by passion. She fondly reads, writes and debates about ills of societal conformity and aims to create the first ripple of change. She tweets at @marriyamalik1

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Milind A

    Bad!!!! But why blame the vet.. when you butcher animals in front of the public on a certain festival all in the name of religion??? The desensitizing (reduced empathy) of the general public and toddlers seeps through all layers of society shows up unexpectedly in other forms like this.Recommend

  • peggy

    The vets over therr sound like a POS. I have 5 dogs that are my kids. I couldn’t stand if they were treated like that. Glad you got your cat back.Recommend

  • MJ

    I feel your pain. My daughter owns a Ragdoll cat and it started losing weight mysteriously. We took him to several vets and most of them were just interested in money and we spent a lot of money on test without anyone trying to do a real diagnosis based on the lab results. He is much better now, after trying 4 different vets and the doctor who got it right was not the most expensive, with most experience or fame. We were all on pins and needles throughout the whole process as he is a part of our family.
    On second thought, I have seen humans being treated worst in our hospitals let alone animals. Such is the sad state of affairs of the apathy of our health care professionals.Recommend

  • Pam Goodine

    GO AFTER HIM BEFORE HE KILLS ANY OTHER ANIMALSRecommend

  • Yar Nunya

    I’m very sorry y’all have grossly incompetent vets in Pakistan. I live in a rural part of the USA yet I still have an excellent veterinarian. She likes my critters.Recommend

  • Tahira

    I am so SO glad you wrote this. I have had such a terrible exprience with him too :'( Long story short; they admitted my pup saying she needs to be treated over night without giving anymore details. I went home and by chance I dropped by again in the eveving, they refused to show her to me saying the cages are locked and all Dr. Khan needs to give permission. I said WTH I need to see her RIGHT NOW. When they saw there is no way I am leaving – I was VERY casually informed that she had passed away 3 hours back – FOR GOD SAKE and I was not even informed. Pathetic cruel people!! I tried calling the big shot and majaal hai k zara sa bhi ehsaas ho inn logon ko :'( We lost her because people who treat animals have no heart whatsoever in treating this little ones. Its all about making money and no shame!! For them koi maar jaayae toh kaunsa koi poochnae ga ya baatayae ga k kiss ke ghalti hai. I am in if you need any ANY help in establishing an accountability forum against the mentioned!!Recommend

  • Faye Green

    There should be SPCA police that arrest people for animal cruelty. In the USA cruelty to animals result in trial and jail up to 5 years and registered do they can’t adopt an animal.
    The clinic needs to be sued and his license pulled so he can’t practice any where anymore.Recommend

  • Colleen

    I would like – if I may – just express my opinion about this so called veterinarian Dr. Khan. 1st off this person, Khan is absolutely NOT an animal lover period. Not suggesting that a person must be one to hold the honorable position to the title of Dr. of veterinarian medicine, but it certainly helps. In fact I would go on to believe that this person – Khan – does not employ anyone who comes close to even caring about their clientele (victims). The fact that this Khan character, had the audacity to inform (and which is, at best, horribly incorrect at that) others that “animals do not feel pain” is absurd! Not only is it absurd but, the mouth these words are coming out of, is so obviously uneducated that I myself, can not believe that this person (Khan) has ever even taken a single lesson in zoology, much less any type of class on the health of ANY creature that exists.
    I salute the authors attitude and actions on not lowering herself to that clinics (anyone associated with that place) level. Which is a lot more than I could honestly say about myself. I would have gone ballistic on the puny, little man! In fact, I could go on to say that either that building or the so called Dr. would cease to be, but I won’t……Recommend

  • Yousuf Rahman

    If a vet had lost my cat and replied with

    “Police cannot do anything. What do you even think you can achieve by suing? We are not going to look for your cat. To hell with you, go do whatever you can, we don’t give a damn!”

    I would have taken my cricket bat, break all of the vet’s bones, fracture his skull and destroy his entire officeRecommend

  • Rehan

    It will be of no use, suing them.
    Poor souls operated and looked after by people lacking souls :-(Recommend

  • Cassidy Miles

    Its very sad. I kept over a dozen cats in Karachi. But the way they died and each time at the hand of a vet led to finally give up when the last one died. I don’t think Pakistan is kind to humans let alone to animal.Recommend

  • Yumnah Fatimah

    A very important discussion. Very glad that you’ve pointed out the unethical procedures at vets in pakistan.Animals deserve better and the law should protect them too!Recommend

  • Parvez

    Reading your story I think you have a good case. I am no legal expert but you should sue him for professional negligence or malpractice etc……it would be the right thing to do. Best of luck and if you succeed do follow up and let us know and if you hit a brick wall, also let us know.Recommend

  • Irfan Hussain

    A very important point is raised here. I have cats, infact lots of them, at first we used to take out cats to vets but 99% of the times they would die. After that I started researching and diagnosing the problems myself and lots of times they are cured, the constant affection is something which help them lots. I hope your baby gets better. Just be with him whenever he needs it.Recommend

  • Zaman Khan

    There are countless ferocious savages senseless animals in the form of people in pakistan and in other countries that are heartless vicious unsympathetic unkind callous cruel merciless pitiless cunning brutal you may never find a best of words to describe these monsters, the words that been used are still better than their barbaric behavior and evil thinking and actions.
    This kind of people have no humanity in them not even for other fellow less privileged poor human beings and forget about the cruelty toward animals, everything is money and for that they can do anything and everything that no other good people will even think of. this is a so called democratic world we are living today with all the capitalist corrupt rulers that ruling the nation, there is lawlessness everywhere and these rulers care less for the nation to progress and prosper and get justice, the rulers that majority elected to take care of the resources involved in looting spree sending the country poor people money abroad to guarantee their own whole family live abroad luxurious for generation and here keep ruling like a king.
    this is our own bad deeds that we suffering till now, when there is no justice no real rule of law no real sincerest piety pure leader to uplift the country in true spirit than there the humanity dies in many and left only viciousness and barbarism and this what happening in Pakistan right nowRecommend

  • Nana

    I’m sorry to say but our people have total apathy towards animals. That’s my observation and I insist that we are cruel to animals (for that matter,even to humans). I’m a cat lover and have cats. Having a little know how of medicine, I treat them myself. I can easily understand the distress writer must have undergone. It was only love of Biskey that forced her to keep looking for the pet for 5 days. However, the license of this heartless doctor must be cancelled as he is not fit enough for the profession. Only animal lovers should adopt this professin, the others can find something else to mint money. Action must be taken against Dr.Khan.Recommend

  • Noman Ansari

    This “vet” is barbaric. He should be in jail.Recommend

  • Sherdil

    I just saw this by accident – and am deeply saddened and angry at the way we humans treat animals and the environment.
    I’m ready to help.
    We cannot just say sympathetic words. For a start, I will partner with a friend and create a website that will address these kinds of atrocities.
    As a social activist, do you think you can get others to participate?
    I’ll publish the website so the word can spread and people can join. Much more to say, but perhaps I can put those words on the first page of the website. Dr Khan and others like him must be put on notice by ordinary people, who must become active.Recommend