Dog owners who have sustained dog-associated injuries say they are being denied compensation for medical bills.
The Dog and Cat Hospital in Mumbai, which serves the city’s dog-loving residents, has been struggling to cope with the growing number of dog injuries, and said it had asked insurance companies to cover the cost of the medical bills incurred by its patients.
“In the past three months, we have seen an increase in the number of cases of canine-related injury,” said Dr Manish Kaur, the hospital’s medical director.
“Many of our patients suffer from injuries which include multiple fractures, fractures to the spinal cord, lacerations to the brain, and more.
Many of our customers do not know that their dog’s owners have incurred a loss,” he said.
Dr Kaur said his patients’ medical bills were being paid by the insurance companies.
“The cost of these bills is not covered by our insurance and we have asked the insurance to cover these bills,” he added.
“If we do not get the reimbursement, the patient will be left with nothing and will be forced to seek compensation from their insurance company,” he told NDTV.
Dr Shashi, who lives in the same building as Kaur and her husband, says they have been dealing with the injuries since the beginning of January.
“My wife had her spinal fracture on January 20.
It was very bad,” he explained.”
It was almost as if she had fallen from the third floor of the building.
I saw her on the ground, and we rushed her to the hospital,” he continued.”
The doctors told us that she would be discharged in two to three weeks.
The surgery was conducted at the hospital and we were told that we would have to pay the entire bill.
But, as of now, we are still waiting for reimbursement from the insurance company.”
The Mumbai Dog and CAT Hospital, which has a long history of dealing with dog injuries in the city, said the situation had become a crisis, and that the city was losing money.
“We have been making a lot of money for our patients, and as we were not getting any reimbursement from insurance companies, we were left with no choice but to file a lawsuit,” said an official at the Mumbai Dog & Cat Hospital.
The government’s pet insurance scheme, the Animal Husbandry Act, aims to provide financial support to dog owners who get injured in their pets.
In December, the Supreme Court said the Act should be amended to include other kinds of injuries.
The Supreme Court also asked the Centre to make dog owners eligible for financial support for their pets if they suffered injuries in their animals.