Who Should Pay This Sick Rescue Dog's Vet Bills?

Last month, Zachary and his girlfriend adopted an adorable dog, Sophie, from a rescue organization. She had been transported across several states from a shelter to her new home, but arrived extremely ill. Her new family rushed her to the veterinarian, where she got badly needed but expensive treatment. The vet claims that Sophie should never have traveled in her condition, and would have showed symptoms long before the transport left. The rescue claims that she wasn’t sick before departure. So who should pay this vet bill?

Zachary writes:

My girlfriend and I adopted a dog on 2/22… When we received her (Sophie), she was visibly sick and obviously not well. She could barely stand and had green phlegm dripping out of her nose. She also didn’t respond to food or water. We took her to the vet within the hour and she said Sophie was severely dehydrated and had [an upper respiratory infection]. She has had to stay overnight multiple times costing us over $1000.

Is there a way to have the shelter pay a portion of these costs? I feel bad taking money from a shelter, but the vet said she had never seen a dog be that sick after transport, and there’s no way she wasn’t showing symptoms when they put her on the truck. We received a contract saying as soon as we receive the dog the shelter is no longer liable, but no-one actually physically signed it.

I dont want the shelter to have to pay the full costs, just half.

We wrote back to Zachary with some questions, and he clarified:

Our vet said she had to have been sick for at least 10 days prior, but the shelter claims she was fine. Also, once we started asking about when the last vet visit was, they changed their story when we asked for the documents (last time she saw a vet was when she was spayed)

Update: The question of the bill has been settled…thanks to the vet. Here’s an update from Zachary:

The vet ended up giving us $1,000 off, so the total bill ended up coming to $350 (which isn’t too bad).

Sophie is acting like a normal puppy now. We just finished up giving her the rest of her antibiotics and eye paste, and the vet says she’s doing fine.

To answer the questions from people who asked why we adopted out of state…most of the shelters in Connecticut wouldn’t get back to us with our application, or didn’t like the idea that my girlfriend and I aren’t married. Also, what difference does it make where you rescue an animal from? It’s one less dog that will be killed.