Cat cremated ‘accidentally’ in Dagenham vet blunder

PUBLISHED: 13:41 15 September 2015 | UPDATED: 13:46 15 September 2015

Helen Swan holding the collar of her cat which was accidentally cremated by her vets after it died, against her wishes

Helen Swan holding the collar of her cat which was accidentally cremated by her vets after it died, against her wishes


A pet-owner is heartbroken after her cat was accidentally cremated by a vet she had visited for years.

Helen Swan asked staff at Best Friends Vet in Broad Street, Dagenham, to leave her moggy’s corpse for her after she was put down.

But the 60-year-old was devastated to hear that it was too late to get Britney back after a “communication error” meant she was cremated by mistake.

“I knew she was unwell so I took her to the vet and they said she wasn’t going to make it,” said Helen, of Oval Road South, Dagenham. “The lady asked if I wanted them to cremate her and I clearly said no, I want to deal with her myself, with my son, because it’s his cat too.”

Helen said she wanted to arrange for the feline to be sent off to a different crematorium where she felt the process would be handled more personally and she would be able to keep the ashes.

But the mum-of-one wasn’t able to arrange the procedure straight away so left the cat with the vet in the meantime.

“When I phoned and said I wanted to collect her body a woman on the phone told me it was too late,” she said. “I couldn’t grasp it for a minute. They told me there had been a massive communication error and the cat had been cremated.

“I was beyond upset and was screaming down the phone. They just ripped 14-and-a-half years from me like that.

“I cut a bit of fur off her in the vets and that’s all I’ve got left of her now. I wanted to keep her ashes with her dad’s but they’ve taken her away from me.

“I’ll never get another cat now, I love animals but I can’t go through this again. They’ve ripped something away from me.”

Kelly Smyth, the southern regional manager at Best Friends Vet, said they have offered to pay for a memorial of Helen’s choice.

“We were extremely saddened to have learnt of this matter, [which was] the result of a breakdown in communication,” she added.

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