A dog breeder from Huddersfield is considering launching a co-operative insurance group to prevent pet owners being hit by excessive vets’ bills.
Andrew Stancliffe, of Fenay Bridge, is facing a bill of almost £7,000 after his pedigree dalmatian Dumbledore was treated by Calder Vets’ specialist hospital in Dewsbury.
But the 50-year-old dog lover is refusing to pay and is locked in dispute after his dog was left paralysed. He has now made a formal complaint to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
Mr Stancliffe says he and his wife Christine stand to lose a considerable sum in breeding income over the next four years. He doubts six-year-old Dumbledore will be able to breed again.
“This is not about money,” he said. “This is about what has happened and the effect it has had on us. I don’t want another animal or owner to go through what we have gone through. It’s been horrendous.”
Mr Stancliffe is now looking into setting up a co-operative insurance group in which like-minded people form a company for pet insurance. The annual premium for all members’ pets would be divided up pro-rata, with every member paying the same regardless of age or medical history.
“A co-op is able to do this as there is no profit skimmed off the top and so the members (shareholders) benefit from lower premiums,” he said. “Also you don’t have to tell the vet you are paying by insurance as that leads to higher bills. Government bodies and local councils have underwritten their own insurance for years. With the onset of overcharging by vets it’s time pet owners took advantage too.
“The planning at this stage is in its infancy. If there is enough interest I will delve deeper.”
Ian Holloway, head of communications at the RCVS, said it could not comment on individual cases. He added: “We have a statutory responsibility to investigate all concerns raised with us to determine whether there are any issues of serious professional conduct or fitness to practise.
“Where there might be allegations concerning poor service, negligence or fees, we may refer animal owners to the Veterinary Client Mediation Service with which we are currently running a nine-month alternative dispute resolution trial.”
And Michael Stanford, claims consultant with the Veterinary Defence Society, on behalf of Calder Vets, said the VDS could not comment “both on grounds of client confidentiality and litigation privilege.”
Mr Stancliffe asks anyone with experience of underwriting to contact him on email@example.com