By HEATHER CATHLEEN COX
Special to the PRESS
Hinton said she and her husband “adopted what we thought was a young cat. It even states on the paperwork I have attached to this email that the cat’s approximate age is three years…only to find out that…she was dying of old age and had a number of ailments” contributing to her demise.
Port Isabel City Manager Edward Meza said, “That was something unfortunate that happened.”
Allegedly, when the Hintons approached the animal shelter to adopt a feline, they were conflicted with the fact Ginger’s cage said she was 12 years old but the animal shelter employee who discharged the cat insisted that Ginger’s age was three and wrote the number on Ginger’s discharge papers.
According to Meza, 12 was the approximated age for Ginger and when her previous owner brought her into the animal shelter, the veterinarian who checked Ginger’s teeth to determine her age, concluded she was roughly three-years-old, Meza said.
When the Hintons asked which age was correct – the age on Ginger’s carrier or the age in her file – it was alleged the female worker insisted the cat was three-year-sold.
Hinton said the cat began showing signs of health complications shortly after arriving to her home. Further, she said, “According to the veterinarian that checked Ginger, she was about 15 years old. How in the world can such a gigantic mistake like this be made?”
Meza explained, “What happened is our veterinarian, checked the teeth to ‘guestimate’ the age of the cat. He based the age off the health of the teeth,” which according to Meza is standard procedure for any vet.
“We spoke to the veterinarian,” said Meza, “and we’re going to make every effort for that not to happen again.”
Hinton contacted the animal shelter after another veterinarian informed that Ginger was not three but approximately 15-years-old. At that time, it is alleged by Hinton that she made contact with the animal shelter with this new-found information.
Hinton said her carbon-copy of Ginger’s paperwork shows Ginger’s age was three, while the copy on file with the animal shelter, the original copy, said Ginger was 13. “I filed a statement with a PIPD detective…after learning the form that was given to me was (found) fraudulent,” Hinton said. “The worker had put a one in front of the three.”
Meza said, “That young lady (employee) was let go. She…resigned because she falsified documents. We offered to reimburse her (Hinton) for any costs she incurred.”
Hinton declined the financial reimbursement and said, “I just want to make sure that this doesn’t continue to happen. My question is: Did an actual veterinarian examine the animal or did they just say so?”
The city manager assured, “The vet did/does check all the animals, by the health of their teeth.” He maintains that “this was just unfortunate.”
As a result of this incident, Meza said the city has become stricter with its veterinary and employee guidelines. Meza said, “When the animals come in, they are just left there. There is no way to age them except through the (health of their) teeth. This was the first time we gave the wrong age to the person who adopted an animal. It was just an unfortunate incident.”
Read this story in the Dec. 20 edition of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.