Ethical Questions

Post Reply

Post   » Sun Feb 23, 2003 10:25 pm

I've recently been presented with some scenarios that I would consider ethically charged, in as far as my choice of action may or may not be considered beneficial to the aim of rescuing. Just wondering what other rescuers--new and experienced, think about these situations. What would you do and why?

--Lynx, I post here because I know rescuers read this forum but if you want to move it, that's fine--

#1: The people with the cavy who has never eaten hay. This week, he stopped eating/pooping and I directed them to the wrong vet, who misdiagnosed what is looking more and more like a tooth problem. The family was already appalled at paying 45$ for the first vet and it doesn't seem likely that they are going to pay for an exam and tooth filing. The son really loves his cavies (he gets into the bathtub with them to bathe them!) but the mom is cheap.

I'm tempted to: tell them that I will take care of the cavy while he gets better. The son is a volunteer and he could work it off, so to speak, while I work on the mom about feeding them proper nutrition. Still, it sounds like a bad precedent to set--relieve responsibility of bad pet owners?

#2: The 7 cavies down the street with mites. A neighbor of mine bought 2 pregnant pet store cavies. Between them they had 5 babies. They all have mites. The neighbor wants me to come down there and give them all Ivermectin in exchange for a donation. All the babies have adoptive homes waiting.

I know that this would be illegal. That's not really the issue. I do know one small-time rescuer out here who gives Ivermectin to pigs in low-income households. Definitely don't want to set that precedent. But I also don't want my neighbor to send the babies to their adoptive homes and trust that they will get them treatment.

#3: The surrender exchange? The pets section editor of our metro newspaper, who I know, referred a friend of hers to me. This friend feels that she doesn't have enough time for her 2 boars anymore and wants to find them a home. The boars don't get along (there were injuries) so they are housed separately.

I want to suggest that, if she will pay to have the more aggressive boar neutered, then I will take him and provide her with an agreeable friend for her more submissive boar, provided the cage space is adequate.

Somehow this doesn't sound quite right and I can't figure out why. There's the concern that she will still neglect them, but then on the other hand, she may dump them out of guilt otherwise. It would give me a chance to increase their value in her eyes, but it could set a deplorable precedent. Don't like your cavy? Here, take this one.

What do other rescuers think of scenarios 1, 2, and 3?

User avatar

Post   » Sun Feb 23, 2003 11:35 pm

#2 Administering ivermectin to an animal is not illegal so far as I know. The product is available over the counter and is not a prescribed substance. If you were going to "diagnose" a URI and give bactrim, that might be shady but they could buy it themselves. I think of it as getting a flea treatment for a dog over the counter and you putting it on the dog.

For me, there would be a good case to do what you felt was right. You aren't representing yourself as a vet. It's just ivermectin.

User avatar

Post   » Mon Feb 24, 2003 12:18 am

#1. Do it. I've done that and a whole heck of a lot more for a lot of different situations. Teach them as much as possible along the way, if you can. But hey, that's a good part of why I'm stone-cold broke!

#2. Definitely do it. I wouldn't think twice about it. I've done that many, many times. Me personally, I would make them come to me. But, if you don't mind and have the time, then do it.

#3. Don't do it. She wants to get rid of them. She'll just have more and more excuses. Either help her rehome them or take them as a surrender, but don't waste your time with her.

User avatar

Post   » Mon Feb 24, 2003 9:33 am

#1. I'd do it. The mom is probably a lost cause when it comes to being willing to take care of the pig. However, the son is your chance to teach someone to love guinea pigs and how to properly care for them. If he stays in the area, he could potentially be a foster for you later on in his life. If not that, at least someone that you know you can adopt pigs out to.

#2. Do what I told Paravati to do...come up with some sort of release form that states something along the lines that you, as the person giving the Ivermectin, are not responsible for any later health problems that the guinea pigs may develop. Not that the Ivermectin would cause a problem, or you would do it wrong, but if the person took the pig to the vet and they told the vet that "so-and-so gave my pig something for mites not that long ago", things could get messy.

#3. I'm leaning more toward just taking the pigs...and hoping she doesn't change her mind later and get more again. Unless you intend to make routine "house checks" on her, she sounds like she's just going to "ignore" a new pig as well as the old ones.

User avatar
I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Mon Feb 24, 2003 9:56 am

#1 - I'd do it. You can educate the son, and you know if you do that right, he'll pester his mom all the time for better care for what he feels are "his" animals.

#2 - I'd do that, too. I have a release form that says basically "I'm not a vet. If you can't take your pig to a real vet, I will do this very basic treatment for you as long as you sign here absolving me of all responsibility". This is to cover my ass, because like Mel said - The pig could get sick (unrelated) a week down the road and then I have a lawsuit for practicing vet work without a license. Also, I've got an agreement with my vet that I won't dispense medicines for people, and that the animal has to be "under my care" for me to treat it. If the person balks, tell them that you will only treat their pigs if they stay with you for 14 days. Treat them, and then give them back. Require a donation if you can get it.

3 - I wouldn't trust her with any more pigs. Either take the ones she wants to give away or just write her off. She sounds like a loser.

User avatar
Me, too!

Post   » Mon Feb 24, 2003 11:24 am

1- I'd do it. Educate along the way.

2- Probably. I have a good deal going with my vet, so in my situation, I'd probably just load up the neighbors pigs and take them en masse to the vet, then keep them til they're through with the mites. I'd probably have the males neutered while I had them.

3- I'd take them. If she doesn't really want them, she'll get rid of them another way. Require a surrender fee.


Post   » Mon Feb 24, 2003 3:13 pm

Many thanks everyone. That helps a lot. Sometimes we can't see the far-reaching consequences of our actions without stepping back a little. And I definitely don't want to do anything that interferes or conflicts with the aims of rescuing. So that was all much appreciated input.

Teresa--I'm almost broke, too, so I'm working on nonprofit status. One of my fosters is a tax attorney.

Post Reply
7 posts • Page 1 of 1