02/22/2018 15:39 EST | Updated 02/22/2018 15:53 EST

Sunridge Place Care Home Staff Switched Resident's Cat For Robotic Version, Family Says

A spokeswoman says a staff member had a severe allergic reaction and the animal had to be removed.

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DUNCAN, B.C. — The family of a British Columbia woman who has dementia is turning to the health authority, their local politician and even the RCMP after staff at the woman's care home removed her cat and replaced it with a robotic stuffed animal.

Dawn Douglas has been living at the Sunridge Place care home in Duncan, B.C., for nearly two years and her family says they've been fighting to reunite their mother with her beloved cat, Snoop.

Bill Court, her son, says the family was told Snoop could move in if they supplied appropriate documentation from the family doctor and a veterinarian, and also agreed to be responsible for the cat's hygiene and vet bills.

But Court says within a day of reuniting Douglas and Snoop, staff at the care home told his mother they were taking it for a bath, then replaced the cat with a robotic version.

A spokeswoman for Park Place Seniors Living, which operates the home, says a staff member had a severe allergic reaction and the cat had to be removed, but she could not comment on allegations that the home refused to return the animal.

Lynda Foley says residents are not allowed to have pets, although they can visit, but the family says the home took advantage of Douglas's condition and their treatment of her amounts to elder abuse.

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