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Dead and not buried - Norwich woman’s grief after vets leave dead dog in morgue

PUBLISHED: 16:20 05 December 2017 | UPDATED: 07:14 06 December 2017

Jeanette Brotherton and Alan Cooper were shocked to find dog Bella had not been cremated by Chapelfield Veterinary Practice. Picture: Jacob Massey

Jeanette Brotherton and Alan Cooper were shocked to find dog Bella had not been cremated by Chapelfield Veterinary Practice. Picture: Jacob Massey

Archant

A Norwich woman’s grief has been exacerbated after going to collect her dead dog’s ashes only to find her pet was still in the morgue.

Yorkshire Terrier Bella was left in the morgue for almost a fortnight. Picture: Jacob MasseyYorkshire Terrier Bella was left in the morgue for almost a fortnight. Picture: Jacob Massey

Jeanette Brotherton, 65, took her beloved Yorkshire Terrier, Bella, to the Chapelfield Veterinary Partnership on November 17 after the dog became increasingly unwell.

Mrs Brotherton was told her 17-year-old companion was suffering from kidney failure and the kindest thing to do would be to put her down.

Following the procedure, Mrs Brotherton filled out paperwork requesting Bella’s cremation and was told she could pay upon collection of the ashes. However, when Mrs Brotherton returned on Wednesday November 29, as instructed, the practice could not locate the ashes.

The receptionist speculated that the dog may be in the Costessey branch of the partnership, but after 20 minutes of investigations, they found Bella was still in the morgue at the back of the practice.

Mrs Brotherton, of Earlham Road, was told Bella hadn’t been cremated because she had not paid for the service.

Mrs Brotherton said: “I had my card out when Bella was put to sleep but they told me I could pay when I collected her. Why in the intervening two weeks did nobody get in touch to tell me I needed to pay?

“The thought of Bella lying on a slab out the back for the past fortnight has caused more pain than losing her in the first place.”

Mrs Brotherton’s friend, Alan Cooper, 45, said what was worse than the initial error was the lack of remorse shown by the vets.

He said: “They didn’t even apologise. It was a disgusting way to treat a customer, especially a grieving one. It was like they didn’t care.”

Mr Cooper has since collected Bella from the practice and taken her to be cremated at Abbey Pets in Rackheath.

The practice has subsequently written off Bella’s euthanasia fees.

Andrew Illing, clinical director at Chapelfield Veterinary Partnership, said: “Mrs Brotherton has been a good client with us for 15 years. Our policy is to ask for cremation fees up front, however, due to Mrs Brotherton’s upset, the receptionist said she could pay upon collection.

“Unfortunately, internal communication broke down. We have expressed our condolences to Mrs Brotherton and we will be putting better paperwork in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

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