Calif. Woman Says She Was Accused of Animal Cruelty After She Didn't Pay For $10,000 Dog Surgery

Weinstein said a misconception that many pet owners have is that veterinary facilities are very profitable.

"Like many small businesses, their overhead costs are huge and profits are nowhere near where healthcare costs are in other parts of the field," Weinstein said.

After Mojo was released to Kelly, she received a final notice from the defendants for $1,308.75, which was turned over to a collection agency, the lawsuit states.

The day after Mojo was hit by a car, an agent from the County of Orange animal control came to her home when she was not home and attached a notice to her door, indicating that they were investigating an allegation of animal cruelty. Later animal control dropped the case against her, after, the lawsuit claims, Kelly had "already been put through severe stress and emotional distress."

The dog is still alive, according to Besser. It's unclear what treatment it received after leaving the animal hospital.

Corey Evans, an attorney in San Francisco who focuses on animal issues and is not involved in this case, said under the California Veterinary Medical Practice Act, whether or not an owner is legally obligated to provide medical care for an injured dog depends on the situation.

He said while an animal is typically considered the property of its owner, allowing an animal to suffer may be considered animal cruelty. However, a veterinarian cannot generally keep an injured animal without the owner's permission if the owner wishes to take the dog to another medical facility.

State law indicates that licensees of the Veterinary Medical Board have a "duty" to report animal cruelty if they have "reasonable cause to believe an animal under its care has been a victim of animal abuse or cruelty".

"Everybody who has a dog and cares for a dog has a legal duty not to neglect the dog," Evans said.

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