Intimidation on the Rise – Pet Owners Lash Out at UK Vets

A new report, released by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) documents a surge in intimidation from animal owners towards veterinarians over recent months.

A new report, released by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) documents a surge in intimidation from animal owners towards veterinarians over recent months. This is according to figures they have just published which detail incidents of vets being threatened or having their property tampered with.
This data shows that despite careful education and awareness campaigns about pet ownership, many people still feel entitled to behave aggressively when something goes wrong – especially if it’s not what was first expected.
UK veterinarians report that they have been increasingly subject to intimidation tactics by disgruntled pet owners, which is causing a rise of veterinary health and safety concerns within their profession. Dr Rachel Aldred from Royal Veterinary College (RVC) reported an increase in cases where vets fear for their personal safety as well as pets when entering work premises because of abusive phone calls or even physical violence against themselves or animals on site.”

A survey conducted by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) found that 77% of vets have experienced intimidation while working with animals, a 10% increase from 2011. The vet profession is one fraught with peril and danger in any case-mistakes can lead to lawsuits or even death for humans who come into contact with certain animals; add in threats on social media or harassment outside work and things get much worse really quickly! In fact, 54% of respondents said they had felt threatened at some point during their career because various people were upset about something related to an animal under their care-and this number has increased dramatically since the last time BVA ran its study four years ago.

What could be the cause of this intimidation?

Well, a lot of it centres on veterinary fees and whether or not pet owners feel they are being charged too much for services rendered. In some cases, the intimidation stems from frustration that an owner doesn’t understand why their animal is ill and are taking it out on the vet by threatening them in one way or another. Others report having equipment damaged when trying to get veterinary care for a sick pet and then having threats made against them because of what had taken place during the examination process.
The BVA has suggested various approaches that might help curb these intimidation tactics – most notably putting more focus on educating potential pet owners as well as those who already have pets about how to best manage various issues which may arise.

The majority of intimidation cases related to health issues where the animal was injured or involved in some sort of accident which wasn’t supposed to happen-and nearly half (47%) of vets surveyed said they had been physically threatened at least once recently due to such an incident. While things like broken bones and lacerations were also behind much intimidation, problems over what amounted on average as £2100 bill for vet services were among the biggest culprits when pet owners lashed out at their veterinarians.
Dr Aldred has discussed a situation she saw recently: “A dog had eaten part of his owner’s slipper while he was having treatment for another injury, and this resulted in a large veterinary fee that the family simply couldn’t afford. The dog ended up being rehomed without further treatment, but clearly the owner was very angry about what had happened.

The intimidation tactics of pet owners vary. Some have sent threatening messages on social media or called vets’ offices repeatedly while others have visited their premises unannounced and tried to take pets away with them despite having no legal authority to do so. As Aldred observed: “I just feel that there needs to be more communication between clients and vets before a situation like this arises, and we need education for pet owners as well.”

The intimidation tactics of pet owners don’t end with veterinarians-their own pets have also become targets of intimidation in some cases. Part of the problem seems to be that many people don’t seem to understand why medical issues occur and take it out on those they feel are responsible for having them happen. According to the vets surveyed, broken bones, bites from other animals or problems related to drugs given during care accounted for a sizeable chunk (45%) of intimidation tactics over the last couple years.
Veterinarians are often the victims of intimidation by pet owners because they make mistakes or don’t understand why their animal is ill. This intimidation can be as simple as a threat on social media, harassment outside work to violence against pets in some cases. The BVA has suggested various approaches that might help curb these intimidation tactics – most notably putting more focus on educating potential pet owners as well as those who already have pets about how to best manage various issues which may arise.

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