Woman forced to surrender dog over $10,000 vet bill and can’t get him back: ‘Pay or surrender’

A trip to the vet turned into a nightmare for one woman, who was saddled with a whopping $10,000 bill and told she wouldn’t get her puppy back until it was paid — and now after raising the money, she still can’t get him back.

Rachel Mullen, of Scarborough, Maine, got her four-month-old German Shepherd puppy Jaxx in March, and immediately “fell in love with him,” she told WGME.

Facebook/Rachel Mullen

So when the puppy accidentally ended up with a wooden skewer in his stomach, Rachel didn’t hesitate to get him to the vet for care. She took him to the Maine Veterinary Medical Center, an emergency clinic.

“The last thing I did was gave him a hug and a kiss and told him to go get better,” she told WGME.

But Rachel was left blindsided after being told that Jaxx needed a surgery that would cost $10,000 — and they needed the money within 24 hours if they wanted Jaxx back.

“You can’t come up with $10,000, unless you have very big pockets, in six hours,” Rachel said. “I was given the option to pay or surrender him.”

Rachel had to surrender ownership so the vets would give him the surgery, but still had to pay $3,000 for his care.

Facebook/Rachel Mullen

“I had no other options but to surrender him while in absolute distress and disgust,” Rachel wrote on Facebook. “We just got him, we had him for 2 months and now we’re basically being forced to say goodbye?”

Unable to get her beloved dog back until the full bill was paid, she scrambled to get the funds together, and turned to donations through GoFundMe.

But then, the story took another twist: after arriving at the clinic with the money, the MVMC told her that Jaxx wasn’t there.

It is still unknown where Jaxx is, leaving Rachel and her family worried sick about their beloved puppy. “My kids cry and ask about him every day,” she told WGME.


The news outlet contacted MVMC for answers, and only got a statement from their corporate owner, Rarebreed: “When you surrender a pet, it’s a legally binding contract.”

Rachel Mullen hopes that the story will spread awareness about the difficulties pet owners are put through due to rising veterinary care costs. But most of all, she just wants Jaxx back — and isn’t giving up the fight to bring him home.

“That’s my boy,” she said.

What an infuriating story. No one should have to give up their dog over a high vet bill, and it’s especially crazy that she can’t even get him back now that she has the money.

We really hope this situation is resolved and Jaxx returns home where he belongs! Please share this story to spread the word!