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  • PLease ! Please ! Help !

    I groomed a severly matted maltese Saturday. The dog was about 8 mos. old and never been groomed. the owners wanted it brushed out. the other groomer who took the dog in told them it would have to be shaved, they were not happy about it but accepted it.
    Now I know what i should have done. i should have had them sign a release, i should of called them and warned them of the potential problems but i didnt. we dont even have such a release =, but are now in the process of making one.
    Long story short she faxed us a letter(on attorney letter head) claiming i did everything from drowning the dog to stabbing it with grooming tools. She claims the dog is very uneven which is true I could not work on his face because he was so scared so his face probably was uneven. She was VERY angry the ears were shaved. She sent us an invoice from her vet for a n office exam and a prescription for "animax". i called my vet and he saifd the animax is for yeast infections in the ear.
    i asked for a statement from her vet which i stillhavent received so i called her vet and she was very rude. she said the dog had injuries on it ears consistent with clipper cuts. I asked her if it was possible the injuries were from the dog scratching its ears and she said..."Why would the dog scratch its ears?" ....yeast infection mabe? but she calims the medication is for wound treatment. I would see paying her back for the groom since she was soo unhappy with it, but she has made me so upset with all her other calims of drowning and stabbing the dog and i realy dont think i should have to pay her vet bill. please give me your opinions, and be honest, i can take it. what would you do?

  • #2
    I would not do anything right now. Call your insurance agent and talk to them to see what they reccomend. They should have their attorney contact you. Even if it was a clipper cut hello matted dog that is terrified moving etc. These things happen. Since the vet is telling you that you stabbed the dog call the insurance co.
    If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!

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    • #3
      Why on earth would the woman immediately escalate things to letters on legal letterhead? It sounds to me like she knows this game all too well & this isn't the first time she's "lawyered" someone.

      I agree, contact your insurance carrier and see what they advise. Get the vet report in writing. Don't pay anything or discuss it with the client until you get some advice from the legal department at your insurance.

      Why would she think you drowned or stabbed the dog?

      I don't suppose you took pictures of the dog when it came in? If you didn't, get in the habit of taking pictures of these dogs!

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      • #4
        I hope you mentioned to the client's vet how matted the dog was. She would have no way to know! She probably took her client's word that the dog was brushed every day! Maltese have very sensitive skin. In the future, keep a camera handy for a before/after/during if necessary picture and save some of the "pelt" to show them. Make up some sort of a release form to help educate them. It probably won't hold up in court, but it does make them aware of the condition of the animal. Explain that the dog may be a little uncomfortable because you had to use a blade that was shorter than you would have liked. Give them some cream or ointment to take home to treat any spots. Make sure when they leave they know what to do differently, and try to book them another appointment.

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        • #5
          if you can't reach the vet by phone, then stop in to speak to him/her and find out what is really going on. what the owners says and the vet says may be 2 diferent things. if the vet agrees with the owner, tell him to put it in writing on a hospital letterhead. tell him you need it for your insurance company. putting things in writing sometimes puts a different spin on it.
          good luck
          Certified Master Pet Tech Pet CPR, First Aid and Care Instructor
          "Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation." Henry Ward Beecher US Congregational Minister 1813-1887

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          • #6
            Always have a digital camera in the shop. How pathetic are these people to have an attorney contact you after they neglected their dog. I'm sure they are going to contact the BBB, so be prepared. You can buy "matted dog release " forms from Barkleigh, they are cheap and well worded. I'd order them today , if I were you.

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            • #7
              So sorry this is happening to you, but now you know what to do next time...Definitely do a matted release form and like others said take pics. Don't have much other advice above what everyone else has already posted. Most importantly stay calm...Have a matter of a fact attitude and try to think positive. If you let it beat you down, it will...Hang in there! I too, have left a face long before when I had to shave the rest of the body. I told the owner that losing fluffy's eye wasn't worth the tidy-ed up face - she agreed, this dog in particular still HATES to have his face touched! I think most clients first and foremost are interested in the well being and safety of their dog. Your client definitely sounds a little off her rocker - so to speak...Good luck and keep us posted - we're rooting for you!

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              • #8
                thank you for all the replies so far. i do not have an insurance company, i am not the shop owner , i am an "IC"(which i know is BS). I did try to expalin to the vet the dogs condition but she wouldnt listen, she said she is not going ot get "in the middle of it" whatever that means. My "boss" wants me to write a letter to her and reimburse her for the groom which i have agreed to do . Please give me suggestions on what to say in the letter, i am not real good with words, i want to tell her i am sorry about the situation, but explain to her the risk of letting the dog get in that condition and why i dont feel i am responsible for the vet bill, but i need help on how to explain it so she will get it and how to word it proffessionally (sp?)

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                • #9
                  I also am considering looking for a different job like mabe in a vets office where i would be protected from things like this. But I love my job now and the people i work with, what should i do to prevent this from happening again, refuse every matted or difficult dog?

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                  • #10
                    I'm with the others, don't do anything until after you called your insurance company and got the info from the vet in writing. Then if they continue to say that the ointment is used for wound treatment get a notice from your vet about what it really is used for.

                    It does sound like she's done this before.

                    Personally I would have yelled at any vet that was being rude to me. I'd go there in person to get it in writing, also talk to a vet tech that may have seen the dog as well.

                    I've had a vet try to pull wool over my eyes before. I showed up, got in his face, started talking to him in "vet lingo". When he realized I knew what I was talking about, everything changed.

                    It's been said before, vets don't like groomers and we don't know why.
                    Becky

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Briarpatch View Post
                      and try to book them another appointment.
                      I don't think I would book another appointment. Sounds like a client you would be better off without.
                      "There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."
                      Diane

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                      • #12
                        DO NOT NOT NOT NOT write the client a letter !!! Especially one that takes blame or apologizes. That could easily used against you.

                        Now if you are and IC you have no "boss"

                        Finally, if you nicked the dog and did not explain the risks ahead of time to the owner AND tell her and show her the nicks after the grooming then I'm afraid you probably not only have to reimburse her but also pay the vet bill. At least the part of the vet bill that applies to any nicks you may have made. If you had told her the risks before you groomed the dog then Id be tempted to say "Sorry I explained to you this could happen when trying to shave a dog as matted as fluffy was" But even then, if she actually went to court Im not sure you would have a leg to stand on with "he said, she said"

                        I'm sorry this is happening to you It totally stinks. You tried to do a good thing and got a bite in the but. I guess all you can do it learn from it and move on. Every once in a while when I start thinking it would be nice to have my own business I read a story like this and am sooooo glad I work for a vet and am shielded from this kinds of problems.

                        I hope you are able to work it out.

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                        • #13
                          If you are an independant contractor then you don't have a boss. That would mean you are renting space. Therefor you should have liability insurance. If this lady pays you then it is up to her insurance company. If you feel you did nothing wrong, then why should you write a letter and give her money. You really don't want a client like this anyway. If they are going to sue, they have to go after the shop not you. If you are in the right, stand your ground. If your boss won't back you then she should write the letter and take the money out of her pocket and you should find a new job.
                          If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Raggs View Post
                            Personally I would have yelled at any vet that was being rude to me...I've had a vet try to pull wool over my eyes before. I showed up, got in his face, started talking to him in "vet lingo". When he realized I knew what I was talking about, everything changed.

                            It's been said before, vets don't like groomers and we don't know why.

                            Oh my, I wonder if it has anything to do with the attitude quoted above, why vets might not like some groomers? Getting what you want usually goes much better if you aren't yelling and not threatening to get in someone's face.

                            butterfliekisses, This vet says she doesn't want to get in the middle. That sounds like she isn't going to lose her client over it but won't testify for her either. Simply ask for a copy of the vet records page for this incident, for your insurance company. The vet won't give it to you, the client has to. Tell her you can't resolve the problem without it.

                            When you say you are an IC and don't have insurance, is that saying the shop insurance doesn't cover you? Becasue it needs to if you aren't a real IC. This boss could find herself in serious trouble over the IC vs Employee issue if she doesn't cover you and you can be in serious trouble if you are a real IC and haven't been paying your taxes assuch, AND don't have insurance coverage that you are responsible for as an IC.

                            Good luck, this sounds like a HUGE mess from many angles.

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                            • #15
                              IC's need insurance too!

                              Dear Kisses,

                              Even if you are an IC the establishment you work at/for is responsible. See if they have insurance coverage. This is exactly why you need insurance. However if you have nothing (do not own your home and car outright) then you are judgement proof all they can get is a judgement. If they know that you do not have much they will give up. Such a pain in the butt to collect.

                              They are just trying scare tactics now. Give it time they will exhaust themselves. Do not feed into their dramas.

                              Explain in the letter that you are sorry for their problems but you did your best without admitting any wrongdoing. Grooming does not cause a yeast infection. Due to the condition of the dog and the dogs behavior this is the best you could do.

                              Tell them you do not have the money to pay their vet bills and at most they are trying to get "Blood from a stone" not to waist their time. The Vet said he did not want to get in the middle so he's out of the picture and it is their word against yours. They brought the dog in in bad condition where is their responsibility? A judge will look at both sides and if there is a judgement you will only be partially liable if at all. It will not get that far. Try and relax.

                              But, Stop! Playing Russian Roulette, get insured. Checkout Gibson-Governer Insurance especially for pet groomers.

                              Good Luck,

                              Chuck

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