A veterinary hospital made famous by a hit television show is in a storm of controversy after it confused an owner’s beloved pet cat with another animal.
Bondi Junction Veterinary Clinic, in Sydney’s east, launched a desperate appeal this week to find Tara, a tortoiseshell moggy breed, who was being cared for in the facility until she was mistakenly released by staff on Sunday night.
The grandma of another cat owner had come in to pick another similar tortoiseshell called Lara – but was given Tara instead.
By the time she arrived home and was informed by a neighbour she had the wrong cat, Tara had already escaped after Lara’s owner let her out into the back garden.
The clinic contacted Tara’s heartbroken owners on Monday night, who are currently overseas and immediately launched an appeal on several community Facebook pages in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
‘Bondi Junction vets have lost my cat. Please can somebody let me know if they see Tara,’ her owner Katie wrote.
‘She can be friendly but is afraid of strangers. Please help us find our baby.’
An appeal been launched to find tortoiseshell cat Tara (pictured), who went missing after an embarrassing bungle by Bondi Junction Veterinary Clinic
The owner also shared the concerning message she received from the clinic, alerting them of how Tara was accidently discharged instead of Lara.
‘I’m sorry to have to message you this way … (Tara and Lara) were both tortoiseshell and the person who picked her up was the grandmother and didn’t know what her cat looked like,’ the vet wrote.
‘She took Tara home and the neighbour came in and said it wasn’t their cat and then of all stupid things they let her out.’
The apologetic vet stressed they were doing everything they could to find Tara and that staff will now undergo training to avoid similar bungles in the future.
‘I can’t believe it has happened and staff will be appropriately trained,’ she wrote.
‘I cannot apologise enough and we are all very distressed as I imagine you will be. We are doing everything we can.’
Several staff, including celebrity vet Dr Chris Brown, have been household names ever since the TV show Bondi Vet, filmed at Bondi Junction Veterinary Hospital, became a popular primetime hit back in 2008.
Tara (pictured with one of her owners) was mistakenly discharged instead of another cat Lara
Tara’s devastated owners shared this message from the vet clinic alerting them to the mix-up
The online plea quickly went viral, prompting the vet clinic to launch its own public appeal on Tuesday morning.
‘On Sunday a member of staff gave the wrong cat to the mother of the owner of another tortoiseshell cat,’ the clinic wrote.
‘She was not familiar with her daughter’s cat and so did not recognise it and took her home. Then when a neighbour in Castlefield St Bondi dropped by and said it wasn’t the right cat, little Tara escaped into the back garden and jumped the fence.
‘We have signs and cat traps out there and we are actively looking for her. We would ask you all for your help . It was a human error and staff involved are very upset as we love and live for the pets in our care.
‘Please let us know if you see her.’
Sydney’s famous Bondi Junction Veterinary Clinic has launched its own appeal to find Tara
The appeal was inundated with supportive comments from locals who agreed it was a difficult situation for everyone involved.
‘I just hope she is located sooner rather than later. I would be physically sick if that was my kitty. She’s a beautiful girl. Come home gorgeous. She would be so scared!’ one local wrote.
Another added: ‘Fingers crossed she is found soon. That is a hard situation for everyone involved. Big hugs to the owner and your team.’
The incident also sparked community outrage.
‘How was this allowed to happen? The owners are distraught and have been posting on local Facebook groups over the last 24hrs as they are overseas. This should never have happened in the first place. Veterinary practices have a strict duty of care and this was clearly broken here,’ one commented.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Bondi Junction Veterinary Clinic and the cat’s owner for further comment.
Tara was last seen in Castlefield Street in Bondi.
She is described as grey with a ginger splodge on her face and has a collar with her name Tara in diamantes.
The collar also has a round silver tag engraved with ‘my name is Tara. I should be home. Please call Dad’.
Bondi Vet was a long-running television series which followed the lives of Dr Brown and other vets at Bondi Junction Veterinary Hospital.
Bondi Junction Veterinary Clinic is world famous because of it s celebrity vet Dr Chris Brown