Vet gives wrong animal’s ashes to Paso Robles dog owners

September 9, 2016


After paying to have their beloved dog put to sleep and cremated, a Paso Robles family received the ashes of someone else’s pet. It is unclear whose ashes the family received, and it is suspected that their dog was not actually cremated. [KSBY]

Penny and Stan Weber learned they had received the wrong ashes after they lost a second dog. Following the cremation of the second dog, the Webers received a nice card from the crematorium, which they did not receive in the first instance. When asked, the crematorium informed the Webers that it had never received the first dog, Pluto.

On May 26, the Webers took Pluto to the Creston home of veterinarian Dr. James E. Aarons, of Oak Country Veterinary Services, to put the dog to sleep. The Webers also paid Aarons $170 to have Pluto cremated through Oak Hills Memorial Pet Care.

Aarons says he does house calls and sees patients at his own home when his practice is closed.

The Webers later received what they thought were Pluto’s ashes. The office clerk at Aarons’ Paso Robles practice gave the Webers the ashes in a box with no note and no cremation certificate.

After Oak Hills Memorial Pet Care informed the Webers that it had not cremated Pluto, Aarons admitted he made a mistake. Aaron said he does not know what happened to Pluto’s body, but his best guess is that it was taken to the local landfill, which many vets use as a low-cost alternative to cremation.

Aarons also said his practice needs to tighten up its records. He did not realize this kind of a mess would happen, Aarons said. The veterinarian said his practice is now getting an extra freezer and three layers of paperwork, and he is refunding the Webers for the cremation that never happened.

In 2013, the California Veterinary Medical Board issued a fine and citation to Aarons for not seeking a more conservative alternative before performing colon surgery on an animal. But, the board says Aarons’ license is in good standing.

A representative of the veterinary board said she had never heard of a case involving animal remains getting mixed up.


As I recall, this is the same vet who left a dog in a locked car, windows rolled up, and the dog died. Would have been about 15-20 years ago.


Circlingthedrain: Do you know this vet? I do. Whyaduck offers sound advice.


I have two “fur babies”, both >13 years old. I would be sad to find out this happened. I would be some relief that the Vet seems to be accepting some level of responsibility and making efforts to show his regret in the error. He cannot make it right, but I think acknowledging the mistake, promising to correct the possible causes to protect future animal owners/lovers, and returning money helps.

RIP Pluto!


He is use to apologizing for his services! I would like to know how many of you would be happy if you took your beloved dog to a Vet, do the right thing at the right time, pay for this service and then find out your dog was dumped in the landfill. Disgusting!


A dump certainly offers no dignity…somehow this practice should be ended.


I have loved my dogs as much as anyone else……much more than most. But is this anecdote really supposed to be news?


Are you saying you have no problem with a Vet that gets paid $170 to cremate a family dog and then dumps it a landfill? You don’t think the clients of this Vet have a right to know? How much did you say you loved your dogs? You probably dispose of them yourself. Nice!


Yes probably that, Einstein.


Really, all these “thumbs downs” for a Vet that is paid to do a service, do it properly, abuses that truth and you don’t care? OK. I am done on this topic because obviously this guy must belong to some great local organizations and people are going to support his inappropriate actions, drunk or sober!


Having lost beloved pets I can fully sympathize with the grief this engenders, and offer my sincere condolences to the Webers. Where I part company is in the keeping of the ashes. Had I cremated and kept the ashes of my pets I would have to dedicate a closet to the urns, and to me, that is going a little too far. All my dead pets were buried in a favorite spot, with no markers as to not spook the next tenants. I know where they are and I have moved on. One is actually buried in Golden Gate Park, the rest in former homes yards. For perspective, I scattered my mother’s ashes in Santa Barbara Harbor, we she first lived in California and met my father in 1939. I know she would have liked that.


Maybe time to get help for the alcoholism, Jim?


Make perfect sense. Anyone who makes an error must be an alcoholic. In fact, I believe this is one of the screening questions when assessing heavy drinking. Not,


How sad for this dogs family.


What a sad story, and what does this say about this Vet. $$$, the root of all evil!