Last week, Vince Vaccaro of Lindenhurst, New York brought his beloved dog Nugget to Babylon Animal Hospital after noticing that she wasn’t breathing correctly. He already had a scheduled appointment at the clinic, so when he told them what was going on, they decided to take her back for a chest x-ray. Minutes later, a doctor came out and told Vaccaro that Nugget had gone into cardiac arrest. Within a couple of hours, the dog was dead.
While the dog was being treated, Vaccaro says animal hospital staff informed him that they would be closing at 8 p.m. and that he would need to bring Nugget to a 24-hour clinic.
"I told them there is no way I would make it there with the dog in this condition," said Vaccaro to Lindenhurst Patch. "I begged Dr. Lopez and Dr. Biedermann to stay open as Nugget was in the incubator breathing well and maybe in a few hours she would be stable enough for me to move her and make the 20 minute trip to the 24-hour vet."
Still, the animal hospital reportedly wouldn’t budge. They stayed open until a quarter past the hour, but weren’t willing to stay any longer, and they asked Vaccaro, along with his family members, to leave. Doctors allegedly took Nugget off of the incubator that was allowing her to breathe, and immediately, Vaccaro ran out with her in his arms to get the beloved dog to an emergency clinic as fast as he can.
"I ran out the front door but by the time I fastened my seat belt she died in my arms," said Vaccaro. "I ran back to the front door with my limp dog in hands and it was locked. I banged on it and they opened and rushed her to the back to try to revive her but it was too late. My little baby was gone. Her heart stopped just a half hour before they sent me away with the dog in my hands.”
Vaccaro blames the hospital for being unwilling to keep their doors open, but Dr. Frank Liguori, owner of Babylon Animal Hospital, disagrees.
"The only thing I can say is that someone lost an animal due to an illness and is not happy about that," said Liguori. "He's just upset about losing his animal. I think it's just an upset person who has to get over it.”
Vaccaro says he would have done just about anything to convince the hospital to stay open so that they could save his beloved dog.
"Money was no object," said Vaccaro. "If he told me, 'I will stay here to till midnight. It's going to cost you $3,000.' Fine, here you go. She's my baby. You didn't give me any options but to leave."
The Lindenhurst Patch article published online shows many comments from others who have had similar negative experiences with Babylon Animal Hospital.
“I am so sorry about your pet,” wrote user Jessie Nelson. “This is the same facility I brought my neighbors cat to several years ago. She was having trouble breathing. The doctor was angry I brought her after hours. So I said to him, then what would you consider an emergency. He replied to me 'death'. I would never go there again.”
Reports haven’t said whether or not Vaccaro plans to pursue legal action against the hospital.