Friday, November 28, 2008

Leonardo the Dog is Dropped off for Grooming, and His Vet Kills Him

TEXAS. How would you fee if you took your beloved 6-year old English Sheepdog in to the vet for a simple grooming, and later the vet called you and told you that he had killed him instead?

That is what happened in San Antonio, Texas in 1997, when Leonardo the Sheepdog was taken by his owner to Leon Springs Veterinary Hospital, where he was placed in the decidely NOT CAREFUL hands of veterinarian Doyle Cooper.

The Texas Veterinary Board records state:

". . . Leonardo was placed in a run until the groomer was ready for him. Dr. Cooper did not know that 'Leonardo' was in the building. A short time later, a Great Pyrenees was admitted to be euthanized. Dr. Cooper was in surgery and directed that the dog be placed in a run until the animal could be euthanized later. Instead, the Great Pyrenees was placed in a treatment ward cage. Both animals failed to have an ID card on their doors to determine disposition."

[COMMENTARY: That is the actual text of the vet board document. Here are a couple of things I find very interesting:

a) Isn't it interesting that the staff didn't listen to the vet and that's the source of fault here?? Hmm. Rather than the person in charge? With the whole "Instead . . . [the dog] was placed in a treatment ward cage"? I'm not so sure I believe that, although I'll never know.

b) Also, isn't the "passive voice" choice of the board telling? THE ANIMALS failed to HAVE ID cards on their doors. As they they, themselves, were supposed to grab a
3"x5" card, a marker, and write: Leonardo, Here for Grooming. Great Pyrenees, Here to be Killed. Why doesn't it say WHO FAILED TO PROPERLY MARK the identity of the animals, and WHY THEY FAILED to do so. Carelessness? Lack of procedures, perhaps?

They continue:

" . . . after lunch, Dr. Cooper located 'Leonardo' in the run and euthanized him."

OK, obviously the worst part of all this is the lack of care taken by Cooper to have procedures to make sure he euthanizes the right animal. But isn't it also disturbing, that a sick patient is brought in for euthanasia, presumably because he's suffering, and Cooper goes to lunch first?

But I digress.

"When Dr. Cooper realized he had euthanized the wrong dog, he called Mr. & Mrs. Larsen and explained the facts and circumstances to them."

My interpretation:

FACT: I killed your dog.
CIRCUMSTANCES: We are careless over here.

The document continues:

"Dr. Cooper's treatment of Leonardo did not constitute the exercise of the same degree of humane care, skill, and diligence in treating patients as is ordinarily used in the same or similar circumstances by average members of the veterinary medical profession in good standing in San Antonio, Texas or similar community."

Nah, you don't say?

The document goes on to say that Dr. Cooper reached a legal settlement with the family.

It also says that Dr. Cooper INTENDS TO change procedures at Leon Springs Veterinary Hospital to ensure that this won't happen again.

Not he HAS. Not even HE WILL. He INTENDS TO.

This document is dated December 23rd, 1997.

Leonardo was killed, and this incident occurred on, February 26th 1997.

TEN MONTHS have passed between this incident and the signing of this document.

YET, the document still says Cooper INTENDS TO change procedures. As in, in the future.

Hmmm. That's how low a priority it is to make sure you don't kill the wrong animal?

The veterinary board gave Cooper an official reprimand.

That's it.

No fine.

No suspension.

A reprimand.


Unfortunately, YES, but not unusual.

And not much has changed in the years since.

Greg Munson, who runs the Texas Vet Board Watch Website, has analyzed Texas' 2008 Veterinary Board Actions.

According to Muson, there were 84 Board Orders issued by the Texas Veterinary Board for FY 08.

67 of the 84 Board Orders (or 80%) were for violations UNRELATED to patient care. These include failure to take enough Continuing Education, drug related violations, administrative violations, and other types.

Only 17 of the 84 Board Orders (or 20%) were related to patient care.

60 total fines were issued. 59 of those fines were issued for violations UNRELATED to patient care (failure to take enough training, drug violations, etc).

Of all the patient-care (or malpractice) related actions, only ONE was given a fine.

Of the 17 patient-care related (malpractice-related) orders, 10 received an INFORMAL reprimand. 6 of the 17 received FORMAL reprimands. 1 of the 17 received a restitution only order.

There were a couple of suspensions, but they were all STAYED, which means that the vet does not lose a single day of work.

And that's just the small minority of cases in which the Texas Board takes action. Infamously, it dismisses 92% of all consumer complaints with NO ACTION whatsoever. This has garnered much public attention of late, and has been the topic of several prime time news segments. You can watch them online:

Vetting Your Vet - KSAT News, November 2008

Bad Vets: KTVT, CBS-11, March 2007:

Find more videos like this on ASPCA Online Community

Does this give you some idea what the veterinary board believes is important? It sure isn't patient safety!

Maybe that's why Dr. Cooper and his ilk think it's OK to "INTEND" to improve your procedures 10 months after killing the wrong dog.

Click here to View Public Record for this Case

Texas Veterinary Board Watch Website

Disciplinary Records for Texas Veterinarians

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Iowa Veterinary Board and Veterinarian Paul Armbrecht Agree: It's OK to Hang, Drag, and Kick Pigs

An undercover video taken in Ohio by the Humane Farming Association shows horrendous, practically unthinkable treatment of pigs and sows. You can see this video for yourself here, if you dare -- But frankly, I recommend that you just take my word for it, because if you have a scintilla of compassion, this will break your heart.

Who could possibly defend this treatment?

Who else, but a veterinarian.

Specifically, Iowa Vet, Paul Armbrecht.

Called to testify IN DEFENSE OF the Wiles Hog Farm where these horrific acts took place, Armbrecht testified that:

  • Hanging is an acceptable method of killing downed and disabled sows, despite the fact that the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, and the National Pork Board don't list hanging as a humane method of "euthanasia" in their guidelines.

  • Wiles Hog Farm's practice of dragging, kicking, and dropping sows off a 4-foot ledge was an acceptable means of transporting sows to their deaths.

  • Killing methods that cause animals to take up to 10 minutes to die are acceptable.

  • Dr. Armbrecht had observed at least one similar strangulation elsewhere in recent months but failed to report it.

(See Tell Iowa Vet Board: Hanging Pigs is Not Humane!

Well, certainly the Iowa Veterinary Board would take action against the license of a veterinarian who saw a pig hanged (NOT deemed a humane euthanasia method by the AVMA, as though you needed someone to tell you that after watching this) and did not report it, right?


Apparently, the Iowa Vet Board thinks this is FINE, even though it violates their OWN practice act.

Would you like to tell the Iowa Veterinary Board how much they suck?

Click here to sign the petition to the Iowa Vet Board.

This petition says:

"I am horrified to learn that the Board failed to pursue any formal disciplinary action against this man, given his total disregard for laws protecting animals from cruelty and for veterinary standards by endorsing cruel killing by strangulation. Please immediately reconsider your decision."

Unfortunately, it appears that Armbrecht's testimony played a pivotal role in letting some of these slobs and demons -- taped slamming piglets to the floor -- off the hook.

Out of 10 animal cruelty charges filed as a result of this taping, only one resulted in a conviction.

According to the, only Joe Wiles was found guilty, as a result of "grabbing [piglets] and throwing them by their ears and legs."

The article goes on to say:

"Two charges alleging Joe Wiles, 22, of 1187 Steiner Road, needlessly killed animals and beat others to death with a hammer were dismissed before the judge deliberated. Also dismissed early in the trial was a charge Dusty Stroud was cruel in beating piglets to death by slamming their heads into cement floors.

Stroud, 18, of 814 McKinley St., Wooster, was found not guilty of failing to properly euthanize sick animals and when he did so, was cruel. Stroud was an employee of the farm.

Miller also found Joe Wiles not guilty of the same charge, as well as failing to provide food, water and veterinary care to animals and impounding animals without food or water.

Joe Wiles' father, Ken Wiles, the farm's owner, was found not guilty of failing to provide food, water and vet care to animals."

Why did these charges not result in more convictions? (I mean, WATCH the tape.)

Judge Stuart Miller cited "differing opinions from skilled veterinarians," the article says, in explaining his decision.

A letter to the Iowa Veterinary Board, jointly signed by:

  • the Humane Farming Association
  • PETA
  • the Animal Welfare Institute
  • the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
    Li>the Human Society of the United States, and
  • the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights

stated that "Dr. Armbrecht’s trivialization of the AVMA and AASV/NPB guidelines and his explicit approval of death by strangulation apparently were enough to cause the judge to acquit the defendants on all charges related to the hangings." They appealed to the Iowa Veterinary Board to find Armbrecht in violation of statutes relating to making false or misleading statements and statutes related to livestock neglect (arguing that Armbrecht sanctioned such behavior).

It seems a legion of appeals isn't enough for the draconian Iowa Vet Board.

Or, perhaps like so much else, the Board's lack of action has more to do with cronyism, political influence, and connections than it does about the truth. Why do I say that?

Well, in an ironic and macabre twist, the Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine publishes a newsletter called "The Gentle Doctor." In a 2004 edition it announced that the Armbrechts were named Family of the Year, in recognition of their "outstanding loyalty and support of Iowa State."

Who knows? But perhaps the Board's lack of action has something to do with Board Member Rexanne Struve.

Rexanne Struve operates a pig-rearing laboratory (chills your blood, does't it?). They produce "specific pathogen free pigs." A synopsis of her company appeared in an Iowa State "Biotech Mixer" program, stating that "Dr. Rexanne Struve has been performing caesarean section pig deliveries in a sterile environment and raising caesarian derived, colostrum deprived (CDCD) piglets . . . Currently the only commercial lab in the U.S. raising CDCD pigs, Struve labs is a respected leader in the swine industry working with biological and pharmaceutical companies . . . [Struve is] the leading supplier of CDCD pigs for the medical industry."

Well, asking Struve to sympathize with pigs suffering at the hands of "Swine Industry" abusers certainly sounds like a lost cause, doesn't it? Can she be objective enough to do her job? Doubtful. An online blog quotes a "Carroll Area Development Corp." member as saying: "Rexanne would like to save local farmers and hog producers."

We know where her loyalties are. Oh, and the same article goes on to talk about Struve hobnobbing with Governor Vilsack. And she wants to transplant pig organs into humans. And she traveled to Taiwan on behalf of the U.S. to advise Taiwan's "swine producers."

Of course several other Board members have Iowa State connections.

Would this Board ever find Armbrecht in violation of anything?

As for Armbrecht himself, I struggle for the words to define his inexcusable excuses for cruelty.





In my opinion, YOU BETCHA.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Maryland Vet Frederick Adams: Fails to Return Clients' Pets in Spite of Requests, till Montgomery County Police, Fire and Rescue Finally Break In

While this case is shocking -- and sad -- what is most shocking to me is the meagre action taken by the Maryland Veterinary Board. Read on, and see if you agree.

This case resulted in three separate sets of charges being filed by the Maryland Veterinary Board against Frederick Adams of "Rocky Creek Veterinary Clinic" in Silver Spring, Maryland. The events that led to these charges took place in February 2006.

To understand this story it is important to know that this vet apparently runs his business out of the basement of his house.

Two of these charging documents begin by noting the following about Dr. Adam's physical condition as it pertains to his ability to perform surgery:

"In a medical report concerning Dr. Adams, dated Thursday, February 16, 2006, authored by Dr. Adams' surgeon, John K. Starr, M.D., and provided to the Board by Dr. Adamas, Dr. Starr, having noted 'the chronic dyeestheeias (sic) in [Dr. Adam's] upper extremities, [the] tremor of [his] right hand, and [his] overall debilitation . . . [opined that Dr. Adams] is no longer fit for surgical practice.' Indeed, Dr. Starr noted in his report that Dr. Adams had shared with him the 'he . . .is unable to continue in his capacity as a veterinary surgeon."

The first of the three charging documents (Docket No. 06-022A] goes on to say:

"Although he had been advised by his doctor that he was no longer fit for surgical practice, Dr. Adams, later that same evening, assumed the care of 'Kita,' an eleven-month old female domestic shorthair . . . to perform an ovario-hysterectomy [spay] on the cat ... At that time [Kita's owner] paid, and Dr. Adams accepted, Sixty Dollars ($60.00) toward the cost of this procedure. The parties agreed that Dr. Adams would keep Kita overnight, perform the procedure the following day, and discharge the cat to [its owner] the following evening, following payment of the remainder of the bill."

The next evening, (when the owner would have expected to pick Kita up), the owner "telephoned Dr. Adams. Dr. Adams informed [the owner] that his aunt in Baltimore had taken ill and that he had to go be with her. Dr. Adams also informed [the owner] that his associate would be at the clinic on Saturday, February 18, 2006 [the next day] and that he could retrieve Kita at that time. Dr. Adams, however, had advised another client . . . that his aunt in Baltimore had taken ill on January 19, 2006 [a month earlier] and had died on January 20, 2006" (a month earlier!)

So, as you would expect, the next day (Saturday) the owner telephoned Dr. Adams. Dr. Adams informed the owner "that his associate would not be going to the clinic that day, and therefore, [the owner] could not retrieve his cat as planned. Instead, [the owner] would have to wait until Sunday, February 19, 2006 [the next day], to retrieve his cat. That same day, however, Dr. Adams perforned a declaw procedure on another cat whose care he had assumed (to whit: Skittles, a female cat . .. ).

NOTE: Remember that this vet's Dr. had decreed that he was not fit to be performing surgery.

So, the next day, Kita's owner called Dr. Adams, several times, and left a message, but never heard from him. "As such," the document says, the owner "was unable to retrieve Kita as planned,.:

Monday, the owner called Dr. Adams, who told the owner that he [Dr. Adams] would be coming home from visiting his sick Aunt that evening.

The next day (Tuesday), the owner called Dr. Adams, but was again unable to reach him. The Board notes that "On or about that same day, however, Dr. Adams, or his associate, discharged Skittles, a female cat that also had been a patient at the clinic, to her owner . . . "

The next day, Wednesday, the owner called Dr. Adams. If my count is right, this is now the SIXTH DAY on which the owner is attempting to get his cat back -- in other words, Kita has been at this place a whole week. However, the Board says, "Dr. Adams informed [the owner] that his associate would be at the cinic that evening, and that he could retrieve Kita at that time. Later that day, Dr. Adams informed [the owner] that his associate would not be going to the clinic that evening, and therefore, [the owner] could not retrieve his cat . . . "

The next day (Thursday -- a week and a day now) , the owner AGAIN tried to contact Dr. Adams and was unable to reach him. However, the Board notes, on that same day, Skittles owner brought Skittles back to the clinic.

Friday (a week and two days now!) the owner called Dr. Adams. Dr. Adams "informed him that he was attempting to track down his associate and would let him know if she would be at the clinic on Saturday, February 25th, 2006. Later that same day [the owner] unsuccessfully attempted to reach Dr. Adams by telephone."

Well, the next day (Saturday, now we are at 10 days . . . ) the owner called Adams, who informed the owner that he would be back in town the next day (Sunday) "come hell or high water."

So, on Sunday, the owner AGAIN called Adams, leaving messages, but never heard back from him.

On Monday, February 27th, the document says, "Dr. Adams assumed the care of 'Diamond' and 'Polar Bear,' two boxes . . . for complete physicals, vaccinations, and ear croppings. Dr Adams also spoke to [Kita's owner] that evening. Dr. Adams informed [Kita's owner] that his aunt had died (as noted previously, Dr. Adams had advised another client . . . that his Aunt in Baltimore had died on January 20, 2006). Although Dr. Adams was present at the clinic that day, he advised [Kita's owner] that he would have to wait until Wednesday, March 1, 2006, to retrieve his cat. [The owner] told Dr. Adams that this was unacceptable, and that he would be contacting the authorities, whereupon Dr. Adams abruptly ended the conversation."

Umm, does that mean he hung up on the owner?

"Dr. Adams later telephoned [the owner] and left a message stating that [the owner] could retrieve Kita on Tuesday, February 26th."

But Tuesday, the owner was again unable to contact Dr. Adams to retrieve Kita.

On Wednesday, March 1, the owner called Dr. Adams. Dr. Adams told the owner "that he finally would be back in town that day, and that [the owner] could retrieve Kita between 7:30-8:00pm. [The owner] teleponed Dr. Adams to confirm that he would be there, but Dr. Adams did not return his call." He was again unable to get his cat.

Finally, on Saturday, March 4th, "Officer Dana K. Shoup, Montgomery County Police, after receiving a complaint expressing concern about the welfare of certain animals being kept at the clinic, visited Dr. Adams' residence and clinic, located at 8337 Grubb Road, Silver Spring, Maryland. Officer Coakley accompanied her. After knocking on the doors and telephoning the residence and clinic, and getting no response, they made a forced entry, assisted by Montgomery County Fire and Rescue, and found Dr. Adams asleep in his bed."

"Dr. Adams advised that he had been out of town since Tuesday, February 28, 2006, because of a family emergency. After inquiring about Kita and other animals whose care he had assumed, Dr. Adams took the officers to the basement, where the clinic is located."

"Officer Shoup observed Kita in a cage without food or water. Dr. Adams stated that he had made arrangements with his daughter to care for Kita and the other animals, but was not sure if she had been to the clinic because he had not spoken to her for several days. Dr. Adams also advised that he had not been able to check on the welfare of the animals since Tuesday, February 28, 2006, and had not done so when he arrived home earlier that day.

"Dr. Adams had failed to note [Kita's owner's] name and telephone number in the patient's record. For this reason, the Montgomery County Police, Animal Services Division, were unable to notify [Kita's owner] that it had taken possession of Kita. [The owner] located Kita himself by contacting Montgomery County Animal Control."

OK, this is my county. If you knew the euthanasia rate for cats in our local shelter, the fact that this cat -- whose owner had been trying to retrieve her for over a week -- ended up in the hands of animal control would chill your blood.

The Board charged Adams with unprofessional conduct (for accepting this cat for surgery when he was told by his doctor that he was unfit for surgery); for failing to take steps to return Kita to her owner, for failint to provide basic care to Kita (including failure to ensure that she had adequate food and water).

They also charged him with neglecting Kita, and faiing to feed and water Kita according to her requirements.

But this story didn't just involve Kita. Because while Kita was being held against her owners wishes at Adams' clinic, there were other pets there too. Remember the mention of Diamond and Polar Bear, the boxers that Dr. Adams took in on Monday, February 27th (five days before the cops broke in . . . )?

And remember Skittles?

Well, these animals appear in the other two sets of charges against Adams.

First, Skittles:

On January 17th, Adams assumed the care of Skittles (a female cat) for a declaw, a spay, and shots.

The next day, (January 18th) Dr. Adams called Skittles owner and told her that he wanted to keep Skittles another day because she had ripped out the stitches from her declaw procedure and her paws were bleeding. Dr. Adams told Skittles' owner that "he was going to put a cone over Skittles' head to prevent her from licking her paws." But in fact, the Board days, Dr. Adams had never performed this procedure (declaw) on Skittles at all.

The next day (January 19th) Dr. Adams called Skittles' owner and told her that his Aunt in Baltimore had taken ill and that he had to go be with her. Dr. Adams told Skittles' owner he would call her when he got back so she could arrange to come get Skittles.

The next day (Friday, January 20) Dr. Adams called Skittles owner and told her that he would be staying in Baltimore but that he would be back the next day (January 21) and that he could come get Skittles then.

However, the next day (Saturday, January 21) he called Skittles' owner and told her that his Aunt had died the night before, an that therefore, he would not be back that day. Keep in mind that as we already read, a month later he told Kita's owner he was visiting his sick Aunt, and that she died on February 27th!!!

Anyway, on January 21, Adams told Skittles owner that his daughter was caring for Skittles.

The board says: "In a serious of telephone conversations with Dr. Adams over the next several days, [Skittles' owner] attempted to arrange for the return of her cat, but to no avail. When asked why his daughter would not be available to discharge Skittles, particularly since she was supposed to be caring for the cat, Dr. Adams stated that he could not contact her."

"On or about Thursday, January 26th, 2006, Dr. Adams informed [Skittles owner] that his aunt's burial would take place on Saturday, January 28th, 2006 and that he would be returning home on Sunday, January 29th, 2006 and that she could retrieve Skittles at that time."

Guess what happened though? Any guesses by now? YOU GOT IT . . .

"On or about Sunday, January 29, 2006 Dr. Adams informed [Skittles owner] that he would not be returning home that day because he did not have his car. He noted that he was meeting an Attorney on Monday morning, January 30, 2006, and that he would call her following that meeting."

This goes on another couple of days, and then the document does not say what communication transpired between Adams and Skittles owner between February 1 and February 15. The document says, "On or about Wednesday, February 15, 2006, Dr. Adams met with [Skittles owner]. Following a conversation she had with Dr. Adams, [the owner] agreed to let Dr. Adams keep Skittles so he could perform the requested surgeries" (spay, declaw).

The document goes on to say that he did perform the declaw (poor Skittles!) but he did not perform the spay.

On March 4th, when the cops broke into his house, Skittles was one of the animals they found, "in a cage without food or water."

The charges in this case were: unprofessional conduct for providing false information to his client (saying he had done the declaw when he talked to her on January 18th, even though he had not); for failing to take steps to return Skittles to her owner; for leaving Skittles without adquest food and water; for peforming surgery even though his doctor had deemed him unfit to do so. They also charged him with neglect for failure to feed and water Skittles based on her requirements.

Now on to Diamond and Polar Bear, the Boxers. According to the charging documents, when their owners brought them to Adams on February 27th, they paid Adams $700 toward their care and treatment, which was to include physicals, vaccinations and ear croppings. The document says that at intake Adams agreed to discharge Diamond and Polar Bear on Wednesday, March 1, following payment of the "remainder of the bill."

Of course, no surprise now, right? When the owners called on Wednesday night, Adams said he hadn't performed the services yet, because "he had been presented with an emergency case . . . a German Shepherd who had been struck by a car . . . " (What, no dying Aunt? All out of Aunts?)

He agreed to do the procedures and discharge the dogs on Friday, March 3rd. The owner called Adams on Thursday, March 2, and Adams did not answer. The owner couldn't leave a message because the mailbox was full. (Must've been Kita's owners' messages!)

Again, they called Friday and no answer.

On Saturday, the owner went to the clinic, and no one answered the door.

It was later that day that the cops broke in. The document says that "Officer Shoup observed Diamond and Polar Bear in one cage, covered with feces. She also observed that the dogs were without food or water. She noted that the dogs appeared malnourished."

By the way, Dr. Adams had never done the ear croppings. Wonder what happened with the $700?

In this case, Adams was charged with unprofessional conduct for accepting animals for surgery even though he had been informed that he was "no longer fit for surgical practice"; he was also charged with unprofessional conduct for failure to ensure care of Diamond and Polar Bear. He was also charged with neglect and failure to feed and water them according to their requirements.

Whew! Makes you wonder what would have happened if the cops HADN'T shown up, doesn't it?

So here we have a bunch of animals locked in cages without food or water, not being returned to their owners day after day in spite of repeated inquiries, "false" statements, and numerous charges of unprofessional conduct, and charges of neglect.

You'd think the board would take strong action, wouldn't you?

Instead, the Board dismissed the charge related to peforming the declaw surgery. (That was just one of several alleged instances of unprofessional conduct). For the rest of these charges, the Board suspended Dr. Adams license to practice for six months, BUT STAYED THE ENTIRE SUSPENSION.


They prohibIted Dr. Adams "indefinitely" from practicing surgery, boarding and hospitalizing animals. But they explicitly asserted that Adams retains his ability to treat outpatients, although stating that the owner must be present.

Now, here is my question:

Was this man supposed to hold all those pets all that time? Of course not.

Did he make false statements to a client? According to the Board's document, yes he did.

Would any veterinarian with any kind of compassion for animals leave them in cages without food and water and/or covered in their own feces? Perhaps, but only if something were very wrong with either mentally or physically or both, IN MY OPINION.

So given all that, what reasonable expectation can the board have that Adams -- who retains his license -- is going to practice within these limits established by the board? He broke numerous rules and regs that were obvious in the first place. This was not one case, but THREE cases involving FOUR patients. Given that do you really beleive he will heed these purported restrictions on his license?

Moreover, do you think the BOARD believes it?

What they should have done, in my opinion, is ACTIVELY SUSPEND HIS LICENSE -- not allow him to practice. WHY did they not?

Was it sympathy for Adams?

Where is their sympathy for these animals?

Where is their sympathy for Maryland pet owners, and as importantly, for this mans patients?

The Board's Vision, according to its website, is:

"A State in which the public can be assured of safe practices by all licensed veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary hospitals."

Can Adam's clients be assured of safe practices by him, given the above?

I mean, he took $700 from a client and subsequently, those dogs were found in a cage without food and water and covered in their own feces, according to the charging documents. What kind of treatment is that?

To my knowledge, (and this is an educated opinion, because I have personal experience with the Maryland Board) they do NOT proactively send investigators to do unannounced checks on whether or not their "restrictions" are being adhered to. And even if they did announced inspections, good luck scheduling a meeting with this guy, looking at the incredible and torturous saga the owner of Kita went through trying to retrieve their cat.

They placed Adams on probation for 3 years.


AND THEN . . .

They ended their decision by saying that in a mere six months from the order, Dr. Adams "may seek modification of this consent agreement and apply for reinstatement of his surgical priveleges and for the right to hospitalize and board animals." They did state that Adams would have to provide proof that he is mentally and physically fit to have those priveleges reinstated.

I remain baffled by their anemic response to this case.

The Maryland Board's website also states that their mission includes:

"effective discipline of veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and operators of veterinary hospitals under its jurisdiction, when warranted . . ."

Well, certainly you must agree that the prerequisite of "warranted" was met in this case.

But is what the board did "effective"?

Frankly, I think it's a joke, a joke that is anything but funny. Kita could easily have ended up euthanized as an abandoned animal in the hands of animal control, from what I can see. All while her owner has been calling practically daily to get her out.

And what would have happened to all of those pets had the cops not forcibly broken in? I think the ultimate outcome of inadequate or no food and water, over another couple of weeks, is clear.

ASK YOURSELF THIS: What if this had happened at a DAYCARE center?

Do you think that DAYCARE center would still be operating?

Ummm, I wonder if animal cruelty charges were ever filed against this guy?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

South Carolina Vet Robert Moorhead: " . . . engaged in incompetent or negligent conduct"; does surgery on dog's leg without taking x-rays first

I find it interesting that "bad vets" tend to maintain licenses in multiple states. Usually, these states are contiguous or near each other. But Robert M. Moorhead, DVM, had licenses in Colorado and South Carolina in recent years.

I also find it interesting how many "bad vets" either are involved, or get involved, in the horse business, after a history of violations on smaller companion animals.

In early Fall 2001, a pet owner brought his dog to Moorhead's clinic, after the dog had been struck by a car.

Moorhead did not have an x-ray machine at his clinic. But that didn't stop Moorhead from diagnosing the dog's injuries and proceeding with surgery, which he did the next day. According to the board document, Moorhead "performed an open reduction in which he inserted a pin into the femur and wrapped the break with wire mesh inside the leg."

Subsequently, the pin Moorhead had placed in the dog's leg started to come out. Moorhead then "removed the pin" (?? did that involve another surgery??) and "placed the dog's leg in a soft cast." The following month, the dog started to develop an open sore. The owner took his dog back to Moorhead, and Moorhead did ANOTHER surgery. According to the Board document, this time Moorhead:

"removed bone chips from the leg and inserted two pins from the stifle joint and into the femur."

Two months later (December), Moorhead examined the dog and sent him for x-rays at another clinic. The document does not say what these x-rays showed. It does not say what Moorhead saw on them, or if he even ever reviewed them.

Subsequently, on Christmas Eve, the owner ended up taking his dog to the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Emergency clinic. On January 4, the dog's leg had to be amputated,

"because the leg had never healed, the hip joint had been broken, and the knee joint had been destroyed by the pinning procedure."

So, I'm sure that many of the same questions that come to my mind are in yours right now, such as:

"Was the dog's hip broken from the original accident, and Moorhead missed it and failed to do anything about it? If so, is this because he had no x-ray equipment and decided he could simply diagnose all the dog's injuries on exam alone? Or, did the dog's hip subsequently break because of stress from walking with a broken, improperly or inadequately pinned leg?"

"Was incompetent treatment on the part of Moorhead responsible for, or a contributing factor to, the dog ultimately having to have his leg amputated? Had he received more competent treatment, would he have been able to keep his leg??

The South Carolina Board found that Moorhead had failed to keep adequate records when he saw the dog in September and October. They go into some detail about the recordkeeping violations in their decision, including Moorhead's failure to document the type and amount of anesthesia given the dog.

Interestingly, they slip another citation into the document, referencing only the code violated. But unlike the recordkeeping violation, the South Carolina Vet Board doesn't bother to tell the reader what that section of code pertains to. Of this violation, the document says only:

"The Respondent has violated S.C. Code Ann. 40-69-140(1) (2001) in that the Respondent violated regulations of the Board, specifically, Regulation 120-6.1."

Hmm, what in the heck is 120-6.1?

Why do they gloss over that, without quoting what that violation is about, whereas -- by contrast -- they go into detail about the meaning of the recordkeeping violations?

This is supposed to be a public record. Yet, I believe, the way the Board has drafted this (and other) findings of fact, is a deliberate attempt to protect the offending vet, and a deliberate attempt to "hide in plain sight" the worst violations. To hide this from the public, specifically the pet owning public. To keep them from having this information as the basis of making decisions about Moorhead as a vet.

They know that most readers won't spend the time it takes (which can be SIGNIFICANT) to search through the South Carolina Code, find this section, and reference it so that they can interpret what it means.

But, this sneaky little citation is the most important one. And thanks to the Colorado Veterinary Board -- where Moorhead was also licensed -- we know what this violation means.

In 2004, the Colorado Vet Board disciplined Moorhead as a result of his South Carolina violation. Their order states:

"The South Carolina Board also found that the respondent . . . engaged in incompetent or negligent conduct in the practice of veterinary medicine by failing to take preliminary radiographs to determine the best method of fracture repair in order to facilitate a complete return of function of the patient's leg."

Well, thanks, Colorado Vet Board: If it weren't for you, we might never have known the SC Board found him incompetent or negligent.

Just goes to prove that public records aren't always all that accessible to the public in all senses of the word.

However, we can't thank either the South Carolina Board OR the Colorado Board for taking anything like serious action in this case.

The South Carolina Vet Board suspended Moorhead's license to practice, but IMMEDIATELY stayed the suspension. "Stayed" means that not even one day of the suspension was enforced.

They put Moorhead on probation for 2 years with terms that include providing "quarterly reports of four cases" (presumably of his own choosing) to the Board, including one surgical case and four medical cases.

They also required him to retroactively RE-CREATE records for this case.

In other words, after finding him to have been negligent or incompetent, they are disciplining him by ordering him to do another surgery and submitting information about that.

They did, at least, order him to get an x-ray machine before doing this (or any other) surgery and to take 10 hours of continuing education in orthopedics and anesthesia, respectively.

And after finding him in violation of recordkeeping in this case, they are not merely inviting him, but ordering him, to retroactively create records for this patient nearly 2 years after-the-fact.

Gee, wonder how factual truthful, and accurate those records will be????

They fined him $500 and the costs of the investigation.

Colorado also suspended his license and immediately stayed the suspension, enforcing not one day of it.

They put him on probation for a little over a year or until the South Carolina order's provisions were met.

Oh, about that horse thing:

A websearch of Robert M. Moorhead finds this:

Robert Moorhead listed at Carolina Sport horses

Gee sport horses? I bet they have their share of orthopedic injuries. I'd be concerned about their care.


South Carolina Board Order


Colorado Orders:

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Charles Maben Thompson: Sympathizer with Cruelty

The vets in this country who practice veterinary medicine in a negligent, incompetent, or cruel way are in and of themselves a problem -- a pervasive disease in this country that kills and injures countless companion animals and devastates their human loved ones.

But there are vets worse than they. And these are the vets who excuse and protect them.

Such is Charles Maben Thompson, President of the Tennesee Veterinary Board.

Gallatin Tennessee Veterinarian William Baber -- in my opinion an evil man if ever one walked this earth -- was profiled in this blog in February of this year.

Read about him here.

To recap, Baber was a vet employed at the county shelter who killed shelter animals by taking them fully conscious and shoving a needle with lethal fluid directly into their hearts, often while they flailed. There is video of him stepping on a cat to keep it still enough for him to shove a needle into its chest while it desperately struggles.

Here is undercover video of him:

This method of "euthanasia" is considered inhumane by the AVMA.

In spite of the fact that this story broke in November 2007, and Baber was charged with animal cruelty -- unsurprisingly to those of us who monitor veterinary boards all over the country -- not ONLY didn't the Veterinary Board take Baber's license away, the President of the Veterinary Board, C. Maben Thompson (Charles Thompson), had words of support and sympathy for Baber in a recent AVMA magazine article -- not for the poor tortured animals. Disgusting.

Baber was charged -- NOT by the vet board, but by local authorities -- with 12 misdemeanor counts.

Pathetic evil Baber is quoted in this article as saying "If you [the board] had a problem with it [heart shots on fully conscious animals], why didn't you say something to me?"

Um, Baber, evil moron, YOU should have had a problem with it, soulless demon that you are. YOU should have seen your own cruelty. YOU should have had a heart.

Maybe thats why you like to shove needles into the hearts of struggling animals so cruelly -- you are jealous, they actually HAVE hearts, which you don't.

But back to Thompson:

In this AVMA interview, Thompson says:

"I don't think there was ever intent by Dr. Baber—this is my personal opinion—to harm those animals,"

It is my opinion that this man is a lying sack of you-know-what. He knows damn well Baber intended to harm those animals. The AVMA considers this practice inhumane and anyone who watches these videos can clearly see how inhumane it is. You would have to be blind, deaf, and moronically stupid not to see this for what it is and KNOW that he KNEW exactly what he was doing. And I believe you do KNOW QUITE WELL.

Further, it is my opinion that these people -- both Baber and Thompson -- are nothing less than SOCIOPATHS, because sociopaths have no remorse or sympathy for others, including victims. They lack conscience. They rationalize everything and believe that they and/or their "profession" in this case are above normal morality or any rules or accountability at ALL.

Many of us have observed, and come to believe, that the veterinary field is rife with sociopaths. What a welcoming profession. Everyone adores you and thinks you wear a halo just because you are a vet. They deliver their pets to you in total trust. But behind closed doors you can do any cruel thing you want, and your victims can't talk. Not only that, your entire profession protects you. If you maim or kill, there is ZERO accountability and your colleagues will rush to your defense. You can weild a scalpal with impunity. You can step on poor homeless cats and shove needles into their hearts while they struggle. You can hit a dog and claim it was "necessary restraint." You can ignore suffering and then go lie to the owner and say you "did everything you could" and then hand them a bill for your cruelty. What a fabulous world in which a sadist and sociopath can have free reign.

This is the culture of cruelty and culture of deny and defend the abusers that RUNS the veterinary industry, folks.

But Thompson didn't stop talking there. He kept on. Did he express some regret or sympathy for those poor aninmals? No he did not.

Instead, he expressed sympathy, and seemingly solidarity, with Baber, saying:

" . . . he has suffered a great deal."

Oh poor man.

He further went on about how hard it is for vets to keep up with all the new informaton and guidelines that come out for their practices.

NO ONE NEEDS TO READ A NEWSLETTER OR GUIDELINE TO KNOW THAT THIS IS CRUEL. How outrageous, to make these kinds of excuses for the WORST of the WORST in your profession rather than to DO YOUR JOB and TAKE THAT MAN'S LICENSE AWAY.

Bad vets are bad vets, but the worst of the worst are those who are "leaders" in the profession, who set the standards (like Thompson) and who are entrusted to enforce regulations, but who in fact refuse to do so, excuse cruelty, and implicitly and explicitly send a message to ALL vets that IT IS OK TO ABUSE ANIMALS BECAUSE YOU ARE A VET AND YOU ARE ABOVE THE LAW AND WE WILL PROTECT YOU.




Charles Maben Thompson, DVM

AVMA article:

Oh, and by the way: This article announces the disturbing news that Baber is now in private practice.

Friday, August 29, 2008

2 Counts of Substandard Care and 5 Recordkeeping Violations for Maryland Vet Richard Springer

This entry is about Richard Springer, of Brandywine Animal Hospital in Clinton, Maryland.

In early 2005, an owner brought "her dog 'Baby,' a four-year old male Yorkshire Terrier, to Dr. Springer for veterinary care, believing that her dog was constipated. According to the Veterinary Board's charging documents, in her complaint against Dr. Springer, [the owner] noted that Baby had been 'acting strangely' and yelped whenever he was picked up. In his written response [to the complaint] Dr. Springer noted that Baby was presented for 'pain.'

"In his written response to [the complaint], Dr. Springer also noted the following: (a) Baby had never been to his office and had no history of being seen by a veterinarian in two years; (b) On physical examination of Baby, the noted 'a large fecal mass in [dog's] posterior colon"; (c) On visual examination of the dog's oral cavity, he noted a 'moderate tartar accumulation on most teeth, gingivitis, and probable periodontal disease'; (d) He could not obtain an accurate body temperature for the dog rectally; (e) Because of the dog's medical history, he made a differential diagnosis of canine disk diease, and decided to take an abdominal radiograph;" . . .

OK, pay attention to the next part . . .

"(f)Baby 'defecated and urinated freely and became temperamental when placed in a right lateral [recumbant position]; (g) Baby 'bit freely into the X-ray gloves'; (h) He noted that the radiograph was 'negative for obvious disk disease,' but showed a large air density in the [dog's] posterior colon;' and (i) He made '[a] diagnosis of colonic obstruction due to fecal impaction," and injected cortisone for inflammation, and then discharged the dog."

The Board goes on to say that the information Dr. Springer provided in response to the complaint did NOT appare in the patient record. They say that Springer did not record Baby's medical history and condition, did not record his diagnosis, did not record his treatment or the medications given to Baby, and did not record the "progress and disposition" of the case.

They further noted that Springer failed to meet standards for taking x-rays. Specifically they said that "For diagnostic purposes, a minimum of two radiographic views is highly recommended. For radiation safety purposes, the radiography should be limited to the specific area of interest. Neither standard was met . . . "

The Board adds -- pay attention here, and ask yourself what the implications are . . .

"Dr. Springer noted that Baby was an excited, fractious patient. In such cases, tranqualization or sedation of the animal may be necessary, unless contraindicated, to secure the radiographs, patient comfort, and handler safety."

So -- since he did get x-rays -- how then, did he get this fractious patient to lie in the right position and hold sufficiently still without any sedative? And what might his method of achieving this have to do with Baby's fractured jaw - if anything at all?

The Board continues:

"Having diagnosed that Baby was suffering from colonic obstruction due to fecal impaction, Dr. Springer's workup should have included a more focused examination to rule out colonic, rectal, or prostatic pathology. In the absense of an underlying disease, treatment should have included digital evacuation of the rectum-colun an/or administration of mild enemas. Dr. Springer has not provided any information indicating that he performed any of these procedures. Dr. Springer administered cortisone to treat inflammation, but such drug may have been contraindicated under these circumstances."

The Board also notes that Springer made no plan to treat the periodontal disease he identified.

The document goes on to say:

"When [the owner] went to the hospital's kennel area to help retrieve Baby from his cage, she noted that her dog's mouth was bleeding and in an open position. [The owner] asked Dr. Springer about this, and he told her that Baby was "Okay," that the dog had just cracked a tooth. If Dr. Springer examined Baby's mouth, he failed to note the severity of the injury the dog had sustained."

"After arriving home, Baby would not eat or drink . . . [the owner] also noted that that dog was unable to close his mouth. [The owner] called Dr. Springer and informed him of this problem, and asked that he examine her dog. Dr. Springer directed [the owner] to take Baby to Southern Maryland Referral Center located in Waldorf, Maryland."

The owner took Baby to another hospital, where the vet told her that Baby had a fractured jaw. He was sent to an emergency clinic where a "mandibular fracture" (broken jaw) was repaired.

Most of this detail does not appear in the "Consent Agreement," however.

The Board fined Springer $1,850. They suspended his license for 2 weeks, BUT STAYED THE SUSPENSION, which means that NOT ONE DAY of the suspension was enforced.

They placed him on probation for 6 months, but that probation is pretty meaningless, since the only term of the probation is to obey the regulations he already should have been obeying in the first place.

So -

How did Baby's jaw get broken?

And why did Springer tell Baby's owner that Baby was "Okay" and only had a cracked tooth when she arrived at the vet hospital to see her dog Baby bleeding from his mouth which was apparently hanging open?

Did Springer really not KNOW that Baby's jaw was fractured? (How unobservant, or ignorant, would he have to be not to know that?)

Or did he know it but just not say?

If the latter, why? Does it have anything to do with uh, Baby's "fractious" ness?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dr. Kenneth Beasley's Chilling Texas Record

Houston veterinarian Kenneth Beasley has three Standard of Care violations on his record. And to read the details is chilling.

On or about May 30, 1997, Kenneth V. Beasley, D.V.M., was presented with “Sandy” a five year old male Dachshund mix, at the Camden Veterinary clinic in Houston, Texas . . . [the owner] presented “Sandy” because the dog was not feeling well and had problems walking.

On or about the same day, Dr. Beasley examined “Sandy” and made a diagnosis of a heartworm infection and congestive heart failure. Dr. Beasley did not test for heartworms.

On or about the same day, [the owner] told Dr. Beasley that she would like to take the dog to her regular veterinarian for a second opinion and then temporarily left the examination room.

On or about that same day and upon [the owner’s] return to the examination room and shortly thereafter, Dr. Beasley told Ms. Estrada that he had given “Sandy” an injection of Ivermectin to treat the heartworm infection. The patient record of “Sandy” records a .1 cc injection of Ivomec. [The owner] did not agree to this treatment prior to its administration by Dr. Beasley. Sandy’s heart condition may have existed before the injection of Ivomec.”

[What the heck is that last statement supposed to mean? Ummm, whatever. Wait till you
hear the conclusion of the necropsy . . . oh, yeah, the dog dies.]

“On or about that same day, Dr. Beasley prescribed and dispensed Ivomec to [the owner] for the continued treatment of “Sandy’s” heartworm infection.

“ . . . Sandy began vomiting after being returned home. [The owner] subsequently presented “Sandy” to Charles Evens, D.V.M. and explained the treatment prescribed by Dr. Beasley. Dr. Evan’s examination of “Sandy” revealed a severe heart murmur, mild dehydration, anemia, and a heartworm infection. The dog was treated for the dehydration and anemia.”

“On or about June 1, 1997, “Sandy’s” condition continued to deteriorate and he was presented to David Wainwright, D.V.M., VCA Spring Branch Animal Hospital, Houston, Texas, as an emergency patient. The dog was presented with a history of red tinged urine. Dr. Wainwright’s examination revealed moderately severe dehydration, and mucus membrane pallor. A packed cell volume was completed (16%) to determine the extent of anemia. Dr. Wainwright administered subcutaneous fluids, Reglan, Cimetidine, and Prednisone. Doxycline was dispensed for home administration. A blood transfusion and hospitalization were recommended.

“On or about June 2, 1997, “Sandy” was examined by Tom Dayton, D.V.M., at Parker Road Animal Hospital, Houston, Texas. Dr. Dayton’s examination revealed a temperature of 100 degrees, grade IV heart murmur, pale mucus membranes and congested lungs. During treatment by Dr. Dayton, “Sandy” began having seizures and died.

“ . . . a necropsy was performed by Dr. Dayton and revealed the following: A visible lesion confined to the chest cavity, with heartworms in the pre and post vena cava, right ventricle and right article. All arteries of the lungs were impacted with heartworms. Dr. Dayton determined the cause of death to be an immediate kill of adult heartworms causing them to block the right aorta and arteries causing congestion in the lung tissue and high blood pressure with death.

“The product monographs for the various Ivomec injectables states that these medicines should not be used to treat dogs, and that such treatment may result in fatality.”

You’d think Beasley would be more careful with that drug after his previous run in with the vet board just a few years earlier, which also involved this same drug. But apparently not.

A few years earlier, the following occurred:

An owner “took his male collie ‘Laddie’ to the Camden Veterinary Clinic, operated by Kenneth V. Beasley, D.V.M., for yearly vaccinations and a heartworm check.

‘Laddie’ tested microfilaria [heartworm] positive. Dr. Beasley did not vaccinate ‘Laddie’ at that time but opted to treat for heartworms.

“Dr. Beasley administered one injection of ½ cc of Ivomec (ivermectin 1%) mixed with 2 cc of Albon with B12. Dr. Beasley dispensed to the owner 3 cc of Ivomec mixed with 2 ounces of Vi-Sorbin, to be given to ‘Laddie’ one dropper full, once a day for a month.

“The label attached to the medication dispensed . . . did not include the name, address and telephone number of the clinic, the dispensing veterinarian’s name, the client name, the quantity and strength of the product and precautionary statements, as required by Rule of Professional Conduct . . . By failing to properly label the medication . . . Dr. Ware violated Rule of Professional Conduct 573.40.

“By administering ½ cc Ivomec, equivalent to 5,000 ug, to ‘Laddie’ without weighing him, Dr. Beasley exceeded the 200 ug/kg toxic range for a collie weighing 22 kilograms. The medication was sufficient to cause toxicity in an ivermectin sensitive dog. Dr. Beasley also failed to advise his client to observe the collie closely for at least 8 hours after treatment because of the sensitivity of collies to ivermectin. This activity violated Rule 573.22, Standard of Humane Treatment.”

So are you guessing the same thing that I am guessing? That Laddie died too?

But we’re not done yet with the record of Dr. Beasley.

Because this still wasn’t Dr. Beasley’s first very sad and shocking violation.

In 1992 an owner brought his seven month old Chow mix, “Lady” to Beasley.

Lady couldn’t walk, and “She passed considerable amounts of bloody fecal material. Dr. Beasley diagnosed the dog with parvo and suggested euthanasia.”

“Dr. Beasley’s patient records reflect he administered an unknown amount of Benselmin wormer with Vi-Sorbin, orally; an unknown amount of Vitamin B12, Vitamin K, and Atropine. Dr. Beasley also dispensed 20 250 mg Ampicillin capsules. The patient records do not include dosages of medications administered and details necessary to substantiate diagnosis . . . Although Dr. Beasley instructed [the owner] to give “Lady” a mixture of 3-4 ounces of ½ Gatorade and honey every hour or so as often as possible, until the dog started eating, he failed to treat “Lady” for parvo with the same skill, care and diligence that would have been performed by the average veterinarian under same or similar circumstances. In particular, Dr. Beasley failed to give an adequate volume of parenteral fluids."

“The label on the container of Ampicillin dispensed by Dr. Beasley to [the owner] contained the following information only: “Lady, 1 capsule twice daily.” The label did not contain name and address of veterinarian; the client’s name; species; name, strength and quantity of drug dispensed.

“The activities described . . . violated Rule 583.22, Professional Standard of Humane Treatment, and Rule 573.22, Patient Record Keeping . . . “

For informaton on how parvo really should be treated, here are some resources:

Veterinary re: Parvo

One woman's story about saving her parvo pup

Animal Health Channel on Parvo

Collies -- a breed susceptible to Ivermectin reactions

More ivermectin info

"Don't use Ivomec as heartworm preventative for dogs"

Marvistavet -- includes notice on dangerous use of Ivomec in dogs (Ivomec is for larger animals like farm animals)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Vet Margaret Metry of Virginia: A Cat Comes in for a Grooming, and Never Makes it out Alive

How would you feel if you took your beloved pet into the vets for just a grooming, and instead of picking up your well groomed pet, ended up picking up her lifeless mortal remains?

That is what happened to the pet owner who took her cat Ciara in to be groomed at the Colonial Heights Veterinary Hospital in Colonial Heights Virginia in March 2007 and placed her under the care of veterinarian Margaret Metry.

According to the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law issued by the Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine:

". . . an individual brought 'Ciara,' a feline in for grooming. Dr. Metry informed the individual that the Ciara would have to be sedated for the procedure."

[umm, sedating a cat for grooming?????]

"Dr. Metry failed to ensure that Ciara was properly monitored after sedation as the cat was placed back in its carrier, which prevented proper monitoring of the animal's health."

That's all this document says. So how do I know Ciara died?

Because in the previous notice of informal conference, the Board says:

"You failed to ensure that Ciara was properly monitored after sedation resulting in no one noticing that Ciara had stopped breathing until she was removed from her cage. She could not be resuscitated."

Can you imagine how heartbroken her family must be?

The Board found that Metry had violated 54.1-3807(5) of the Virginia Code and 18 VAC 150-20-140(7), both of which relate to unprofessional conduct.

And to add insult to injury, all the Board did was give the vet a reprimand.

No fine.

No suspension.

Dead cat, totally needlessly as far as I can see.

And nothing more than a reprimand.

How terribly sad.

Links to disciplinary records:



Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Michigan's Khalid Tirmizi: "Negligence or Failure to Exercise Due Care . . ."

In January 2007, The Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine entered into a Consent Order with Michigan Vet Kalid Tirmizi, as the ultimate result of a complaint filed against him in May 2005. Ironically, this very Consent Order simultaneously said that the Disciplinary Subcommittee "finds that the allegations of fact contained in the complaint are true,;" while nontheless dismissing one of the two allegations in the complaint. ??? How do you dismiss an allegation that you find to be true???? OK . . . .

As for the substance of the complaint . . .

Tirmizi was practising as a vet at Bloomfield Pointe Veterinary Hospital in Pontiac Michigan.

On November 21, 2003 . . . [dramatic pause for effect here . . . these events took place in 2003, and this order was signed in 2007. WHAT TAKES SO LONG???] . . .

"a. At approximately 2:30 p.m., a six-year-old feline owned by J.G. . . . presented to the Facility with a blue tongue, respiratory distress of unknown etiology and drooling from the mouth. The feline had been a patient of [Bloomfield Pointe Veterinary Hospital] for six years. [Tirmizi] performed a minimal physical examination and administered .25 cc of acepromazine along with atropine, dexamethasone, oxygen and intravenous fluids.

b. At approximately 6:00 p.m., [Tirmizi] called J.G. requesting that he pick up the feline because the facility was closing and it did not have overnight care available.

c. When J.G. arrived at [Bloomfield Pointe Veterinary Hospital] [Tirmizi] demanded payment for veterinary services performed and advised J.G. that he should euthanize the feline or take it to Oakland Veterinary Emergency Group, hereafter Oakland, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

d. Subsequently, J.G. brought the feline to Oakland. Upon arrival at Oakland, a physical examination was performed and a chest x-ray was done. After a diagnosis of severe pulmonary edema and heart failure, efforts to stabilize the feline failed and the feline was euthanized on November 22 at approximately 2:30 a.m."

OK, so before we read what the board decided, let's think about all of this.

Tirmizi performed only a MINIMAL exam on a cat having so much difficulty breathing that his tongue was blue. Since he didn't perform a thorough exam, do x-rays, etc. then I assume he didn't know the cat was in heart failure. Which is not a good thing, because pets in cardiac failure have a difficult time processing fluids. And Tirmizi put this cat on fluids. Ultimately, the cat had severe pulmonary edema. Now, I don't know for sure, but I surmise that the IV fluids Tirmizi would have made pulmonary edema worse if the cat had it already, or even could have caused it in the case of heart failure.

I have no idea why he gave the drugs he gave (dexamethasone, acepromazine, atropine) but one thing is for sure: None of these appear in the recommended treatments I've found for heart failure in cats.

Now for what the Board found:

In their original complaint, the board said that:

Count 1: Tirmizi's "conduct, as set forth above, evidences a violation of general duty, consisting of negligence or failure to exercise due care, whether or not injury results, in violation of section 16221(a) of the Public Health Code . . . "

Count 2: Tirmizi's "conduct, as set fort above, evidences a departure from, or failure to conform to, minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing practice for the health profession, whether or not actual injury to an individual occurs, in violation of Section 16221(b)(i) of the Public Health Code."

However, when they entered into the Consent Agreement with Tirmizi, which wasn't signed until January 2007, they dropped/dismissed the second "standard of care" violation, in spite of language in the beginning of the document which states (without specifying exceptions) that "the allegations of fact contained in the complaint are true . . ."

For the remaining violation (negligence statute) they fined Tirmizi $1,000 and put him on probation for a year.

Links and references:

Michigan Bureau of Health Professions Announces Disciplinary Action against Tirmizi -

Monday, August 4, 2008

Florida Vet Arrested for Animal Cruelty and Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Southside Animal Clinic Veterinarian John Farah was arrested in Callahan Florida and charged with animal cruelty and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without the intent to kill, after he shot a dog.

When he shot the dog, he was at the Crawford Hunting Club in Callahan -- engaging in the favorite pastime of those animal-loving vets -- Hunting! Looking forward to shooting and killin him some animals, no doubt.

Teresa Wingate was out walking her dog CoCo, in an area near her home, adjacent to the Club grounds. Unfortunately, CoCo wandered under the barbed wire fence surrounding the club, and the dog was shot. The woman (owner) began screaming, and her husband heard her and came out.

Farah then appraoched them, with his shotgun.

According to the Times-Union, Keith Wingate (the husband) told investigators that he felt threatened because Farah became "irate and held the rifle in a way that pointed at him."

Confronting the dog owners, Farah denied shooting the dog. But according to the FirstCoastNews Article, "the sheriff's department determined he was the shooter."

So, I guess that also makes him dishonest, right?

Hmmm. A vet who likes killing animals and who doesn't tell the truth. Doesn't sound like someone you ever want to take your pets to, does it?


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Alabama Vet and Auburn University Researcher Clinton Lothrop: His Experiments on Animals Led to PETA Undercover Investigation

Is Clinton Lotrhop guilty of animal cruelty?

One thing's for sure: Regardless of the answer to that question, in the eyes of the law, he NEVER will -- never could -- be found guilty of animal cruelty. Why? Because he's an animal researcher, and they are EXEMPT from cruelty statutes in his state. But there is another thing about Lothrop that makes him different from many veterinarians who conduct research on animals: He also accepts paying clients for veterinary care. Experimental and expensive procedures that, according to PETA, have yet to save a life, and have separated pet owners from thousands of dollars ($14,000) while forcing them to pay for what is arguably the torment of their own precious pets who they want nothing more than to save.

So, is it animal cruelty?

Well, watch the PETA undercover investigative video of the lab he ran, and then make up your own mind.

You can watch the video here.

When you do -- keep in mind that some of the animals "treated" at this lab were owned companion animals -- loved by their families, who had turned to Lothrop in desperation for help with their dogs kidney failure. Lothrop's program offered kidney transplants, but PETA alleges that in addition to a transplant, the animals entrusted to Lothrop also got mistreated, tormented, and became victims of cruelty motivated by greed and experiments done with little regard for the animals well-being. PETA alleges that Lothrop et al were offering these procedures to companion animals in part to avoid being held to the Animal Welfare Act standards that apply to lab animals. In other words, that Act would have required them to treat lab animals at a higher standard than they treat paying clients' animals.

The video tape includes footage in which lab workers can be heard making comments, and which shows video of the dogs themselves.

One of the most horrible aspects of this video is the treatment of Cutie, a clients animal. Cutie’s owner had turned to them in hope that they could offer Cutie a kidney transplant that would help her.

But instead, this video shows rough, insensitive – and in my opinion abusive – treatment of the dog whose life was entrusted to them. Cutie's treatment is described in more detail on ""

On tape, a technician describes how bad Cutie feels:

“I honestly thing that they should euthanize her because this is horrible, she vomited three times, she regurgited three times . . . she feels like crap.“

Another staffer admits:

“I don’t know if it’s [the procedure] been in her best interest . . .”
but adds that from a “selfish” standpoint, it’s benefited her because she’s gotten better at using the dialysis equipment by using it Cutie.

You’d think they’d be grateful to cutie for their learning and treat her gently as they patient, especially as bad as she felt. But they didn’t. The video shows them holding Cutie on a table. Grasping her muzzle, one staff member angrily says to Cutie:

“If you keep doing that I’m gonna smack you in the head. Cutie, Hey, Stop! . . . Quit. Hey Hey Hey .. . whats this up front, what am I doin to your front here.”

Another mumbles:

“Damn bitch.”

These things are being said and done to a sick, dying dog. This is a dog so sick that she is vomiting repeatedly. As they staff member said, she felt "like crap." She would later die during a dialysis treatment, according to the investigator.

Yet, they speak meanly and gruffly to her, threaten to hit her, and call her a "Damn Bitch."


This is how they treated their patient, Cutie. This was Lothop’s lab. While I don’t know which voices on the video may be Lothrop’s, it all took place at his lab.

They had no more respect for their paying clients than they did for the dogs. One man (who appears to me to be Lothrop himself when I compare the picture of Lothrop on the Auburn website with the man on the video -- you see for yourself) explains that clients are charged for surgeries even if they are botched and the patient days, saying:

“If your surgeon fucks up your surgery he’s still gonna charge your ass.”

Explaining the difference between what he says to clients whose dogs die after his transplant surgery, and what he REALLY wants to say, an experimenter says:

“I’m sorry . . . [but what I really want to say is] Now get the FUCK out of here."

Staff are then heard laughing.

Is this the kind of treatment you want your pet to have?

People -- I gotta tell you, this is how some vets and their staff feel about you. They not only don't care about your animals, they have hostility toward them, and they mock you and think you a fool as they take your money and do horrific things to your pet.

And apparently, the kind of treatment that took place in Lothrop’s lab is emblematic of the WORST that is out there.

Does Lothrop have a problem with the way his staff treat patients? I see no evidence that he sees anything wrong with it.

Moreover, staff are heard instructing the investigator to keep their mouths shut about misuse of federal funds.

Then, a man (who once again, appears to me to be Lothrop himself based on comparing the video with the Auburn website pic) talks about how he moved funds around

"I had a set-up where I could just roll [federal grant money] into another account . . . where I was the only one that [knew about it] . . . and you could just sit on it."

Although the Morris Animal Foundation who provided some funds for the kidney transplant program audited the program and subsequently barred two experimenters (they don’t say if one of them is Lothrop) from receiving funds from their foundation, Lothrop continued to treat "client" dogs after that.

All of the pets brought their by clients for kidney transplants died during or shortly after these treatments, the article says. These desperate pet owners paid in many cases $14,000 for the procedure. Yet, see for yourself the kind of "care" they received.

He is still at Auburn, and still receiving referrals as a “veterinary expert.”

I have no reason to believe that his, er, philosophies about patient care have changed. Nor his ethics.

Why do this outrageous man and the other outrageous individuals working at this horrible place still have JOBS??????????

In my opinion, it is because well-funded university labs and renowned veterinarians -- even those whose ill treatment of animals is on video -- will never be touched by our government, not even those agencies whose very mandate it is to regulate them.

Animals have no votes, no money, no lobby. They have only you.

And apparently, these goons think nothing of exploiting you, the pet owner, and treating your animals badly. Understatement.

Case in point:

How did this ill treatment of animals at the lab come to light?

Did the University uncover it and do something?


Did the US Department of Agriculture, which licenses this lab, take action on complaints thus leading to this investigation?


It took PETA to do this.

OK, so PETA, right? I am ready for emails about them taking animals out of shelters, euthanizing them in trucks, and throwing their bodies in dumpsters. I find that horrific. I condemn it. I don't agree with it. Of course.

For good reason, PETA has its detractors among professed animal lovers.

But the fact remains that they are one of the only organizations that do these kinds of investigations. And these things must come to light.

The very institutions that are supposed to be ensuring proper treatment of our animals in settings like these appear to deliberately look the other way, if not give implicit assent, to this treatment. Only when a PETA or an HSUS acts on tips and FILMS the truth does anything get done. So give credit where it's due and ask yourself:

What's wrong with our government? What's wrong with our systems?

In a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture, Secretary of Agriculture, (web file dated Aprilo 2006), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) appealed to the Secretary to initiate an investigation of Clinton Lothrop, his colleague Glenn Niemeyer, and Auburn University's Scott-Ritchey Research Center within the School of Veterinary Medicine.

In this letter, PETA's Mary Beth Sweetland, Senior Vice President of Research and Investigations, wrote:

"A PETA investigator was hired as a research assistant in the laboratory of Drs. Clinton D. Lothrop and Glenn Niemeyer and worked there from February 14, 2005 to October 28, 2005. On Monday, February 28, 2005 our investigator began taping his days inside Lothrop's canine lab.

Enclosed with this cover letter you will find . . . . a complaint alleging violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) . . . [and] a DVD that shows alleged violations of the AWA that were caught on tape."

The letter's introduction outlines the alleged violations including:

  • Failure to provide prompt and appropriate veterinary care and euthanasia
  • Failure to avoid or minimize pain and discomfort during procedures
  • Failure to provide exercise and socialization
  • Failure to provide structurally sound housing for dogs
  • Failure to properly clean dogs enclosures
  • Failure to properly train employees
  • Failure to keep proper records
  • Fraudulent use of clients dogs in experimental procedures
  • Fraudulent use of Federal funds

PETA's shocking allegations include the following:

". . . a diseased, geriatric dog who was suffering from blindness and mobility and respiratory problems was used in experiments that researchers believed would kill him . . . "

". . . a dog who was in an advanced state of kidney failure was left to die for over a week before he was finally euthanized . . . "

" . . . a dog who underwent full-body irradiation was housed in a tiny cage, where she could not avoid her own vomit and excrement; and litters of puppies who were used in experiments by Iams died over a six-month period from an outbreak of canine brucellosis."

This document further describes bone-chilling allegations of Lothrop's treatment of the animals. Citing statements of a research assistant, Sweetland quotes:

". . . a research technician [recounted] witnessing dogs 'screaming' in pain when large needles bored through their bones; Lothrop conducted a bone marrow extraction on a dog using a needle with a burr on it, breaking the needle on the dog's bone and repeating the painful procedure; vet students described Lothrop's incompetent manner of drawing blood from animals, imitating stabbing motions while explaining: 'Lothrop harpoons them . . . He sticks [the needle] in and he's like, 'OK [the vein] could be over here . . . alright, well, it's not there, how about over here?"

The letter contains numerous other startling allegations, including that Lothrop has been breeding dogs with genetic mutations at his home and them bringing them into the lab to experiment on them; they also assail Lothrop and colleague Micheal Tillson's canine kidney transplants, which have been offered to and performed on companion animals at a cost, they say, of approximately $15,000 each. PETA alleges that all of the dogs who underwent this procedure "died horrible deaths within a very short time of undergoing the transplants - a result expected by Lothrop and Tillson, who seem to be exploiting clients dogs in an attempt to sidestep AWA [Animal Welfare Act] requirements and who are certainly using client funds to bolster what they refer to as their 'slush fund.'"

Lothrop and Tillson ran the kidney transplant laboratory. Tillson was married to a woman who works for Iams. Iams cruel animal experiments have long since been revealed.

Shocking, isn't it? Why would Big Wig, Famous Vets working at one of our nations few veterinary schools actually be tormenting dogs?

It might shock people to know that in many veterinary programs in the United States, veterinary students are required not merely to TORMENT animals as a part of their training, but also to needlessly kill them in what are called "terminal surgeries.

The Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights compiled a report in 2000 on the use of animals in our nations veterinary schools. While this report was for the 1998-1999 school year, and one would hope things have improved since then, nonetheless these types of surgeries continue.

In that year, veterinarians in training at Auburn University conducted 267 "Terminal and Detrimental" surgeries on animals.

"Detrimental" procedures were those procedures that caused short-term or permanent, minor or major harm to an animal without the goal or possibility of improving the individual animal's health or well-being. Examples included, but were not limited to, surgery on healthy animals; invasive medical diagnostics without the medical justification for performance or intent to treat abnormal findings; terminal procedures on healthy animals . . . protocols that involved the killing of an animal to be used as a cadaver for a procedure(s)."

"Terminal procedures were those procedures that resulted in the death of the animal, regardless of the health of the animal or the outcome of the procedure . . . "

In spite of these shocking revelations, Lothrop continues to be highly regarded in his field and continues to hold a Sr. Scientist position at the Auburn's Research Center.

And I would assume that he has not been charged with animal cruelty, in spite of this tape.

You see, our laws make sure that vets can be as cruel as they wanna be -- veterinarians are exempt from animal cruelty laws in a majority of U.S. States. While my reading of Alabama's cruelty statutes does not lead me to conclude that Alabama is one of them, there is another reason that Lothrop and his goons would be exempt:

The cruelty statutes in Alabama exempt: "Academic and research enterprises that use dogs or cats for medical or pharmaceutical research or testing."

You see, the people with the money always make sure that the laws can't be applied to them.

Advice to pet owners:

When you take your pet to an expensive, educational veterinary center where experimental treatments are offered, ask yourself: Is it possible that my money is underwriting cruelty -- not only to other pets, but also to my own.

And once you've asked that question, try to do some research to indeed arrive at an answer, before your beloved animal gets the treatment Cutie and the other doomed patients got.

In particular, if anyone ever recommends you seek help from Auburn University, read PETA's summary of the "10 Things That are Very Wrong at Auburn," and think again.

  • 1. Dog guardians are misled about their animal companions’ almost non-existent chance of survival and the pain and misery that they will have to endure from the irradiation and surgery.
  • 2. The kidneys of “mismatched” dogs are switched, and the dogs die.
  • 3. Transplant veterinarians mock grieving guardians behind their backs.
  • 4. AU veterinarians charge approximately $14,000 for each surgery and put the money into a “slush fund.”
  • 5. AU staff members do not know how to properly perform kidney dialysis treatments (using a dialysis machine) for which clients are charged vast sums of money, so the staff members don’t know if the dog’s blood is being cleared of toxins.
  • 6. Dogs used in kidney transplant experiments suffer greatly without receiving proper veterinary care or euthanasia.
  • 7. Dogs go insane from being kept for years in cages without being walked or given any attention.
  • 8. Dogs come down with heartworms because they are not given a basic preventive medicine.
  • 9. A government grant for an unrelated experiment is used to conduct dog transplants.
  • 10. Dogs in critical condition are left unattended."

Now for my opinion:

The people shown in this video, including Lothrop, are clearly, evidently, OUT-and-OUT SADISTS who, in a just universe would suffer the torments of the inner circle of hell for their horrendous torment of innocent animals and their soulless mockery of the people whose money they take and who love their pets.

I did, however, say in a just universe. Which we clearly do not live in.

I believe these people are MONSTERS. They aren't good enough to lick the toenails of the poor animals they torment. Every breath they take is a waste of good oxygen.


Video of horrific things being done at Lothrop's Lab

PETA's letter to the USDA

PETA Press Release

Announcement that Morris Animal Foundation had Barred Auburn Researchers from Future Funding

Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights -- Statistics on the Needless Killing of Animals at Veterinary Schools

Alabama Vet Board Watch Site. This site is maintained by a consumer who lost her pet after a surgery conducted to find an intestinal obstruction that wasn't there. This surgery had, according to her site, been originally recommended by Lothrop. Although Lothrop is not the subject of the complaint, this pet owner alleges that this surgery contributed to the death of her dog. The veterinary board dismissed the complaint. Read and judge for yourself.

Clinton Lothrop's Page at Auburn. Take a good look at him, then watch the video of the chamber of horrors, see if you can pick him out.

More experiments conducted by Lothrop

Cat experiment - Quote: "We reconstituted four cats that had been lethally irradiated with autologous bone marrow that had been infected with the N2 or SAX retroviral vector"

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Harold Hill and Alpine Veterinary Hospital in Alpine CA: Inspections show "serious health threat to animal patients, their owners, and staff"

Shockingly, in spite of a history of prior violations, and several inspections which showed shocking and dangerous conditions, this story ends with the California Veterinary Board re-instating the suspended operating license of Alpine Veterinary Hospital, and then "staying" a revocation of that license, allowing the business to keep operating, albeit "on probation." I think that the history of this place should give serious pause to any one who lives in the area, uses this business, or ever even has thought of doing so.


First of all, at the time of these violations, Harold Hill had been the managing veterinarian at Alpine Hill since April, 2004. He already had a history of violations.

In 2002, he was cited for "violation Business and Professions Code sections [which relate to] fraud, deception, negligence or incompetence in the practice of veterinary medicine" and "failure to properly register a place of practice." He was fined only $300. In 2004 he was cited for violation regulations pertaining to both record-keeping AND ANESTHESIA. In keeping with the veterinary boards' often baffling history of punishing subsequent violations even more lightly than the one before, he was fined only $250 for that latter violation.

Then came the inspections.

In September 2005 a complaint was filed with the Veterinary Board stating that Alpine Veterinary Hospital was very unsanitary.

The Vet Board sent an inspector, who found that:

". . . the facility was far below the minimum standards and a serious health threat to animal patients, their owners, and the staff that worked there. The condition wa2so poor that it could not be remedied without substantial work and renovation."

Moreover, at the time of the inspection, there was NO veterinarian on the premises, and the inspector observed a unlicensed staff member performing veterinary medicine without a license.

As a result of this inspection, on November 16th of that year, an "interim suspension" was issued to both Harold Hill, DVM, and Alpine Animal Hospital itself.

The inspector went back for a recheck on November 25th, finding that "the condition of the facility was still below the minimum standards and a serious health threat to animal patients, their owners, and the staff . . ." Hill was again not present at the facility, and it is noted that he had not been there for months, and no one knew how to reach him.

What were the details of the dangerous and unsanitary conditions? Here are some excerpts:

"The surgical room was extremely unsanitary . . ."

"The floors, tables and counters in the surgical room were unsanitary. Paint was peeling off the walls and there were holes and leaks in the ceilings, dust on everything, and clutter everywhere . . . "

"The reception room was unsanitary and the lighting was too dim . . . "

"Non-surgery related items were left in the surgical room and there was no proper place for surgery . . . "

"There was no emergency light in the surgical room . . . "

"Oxygen equipment . . . was not properly maintained."

"The exposure and developing techniques for x-rays were unnacceptable . . . "

"There was no centrifuge for adequate blood preparation to ensure qulaity readings, there were also no other available basic and/or emergency lab tests on site, therefore, the laboratory services were unnacceptable . . . "

"Exercise runs . . . have wood floors . . . "

"Emergency drugs were not properly maintained . . . need to replace expired drugs . . . "

"Resuscitation bags were not properly maintained . .. Need to buy ambu-bag."

"Failed to post sign indicating 'no staff on premises overnight' . . . "

"Improper x-ray identification . . . "

"Improper hazardous waste disposal . . . "

"Inadequate anesthetic monitoring . . . "

"Failure to follow proper sanitary surgical procedures . . . "

". . . the consultant observed employee Dawn McKinney practising veterinary medicine without a license. The consultant observed Ms. McKinney perform an examination, provide treatment, and prescribe medication for the dog. The consultant confirmed that Ms. McKinney is not licensed by the California Veterinary Medical Board to practice veterinary medicine, nor is she certified as a Registered Veterinary Technician . . . "

There is more . . . but do you need more?

It seems odd to me that anyone walking into this place wouldn't have had a huge feeling of danger and walked right out with their pet. However, some people are very trusting, or may have had the kind of relationship with this place that caused them not to realize what was happening over time. And surely, no one who took their pets there knew the dirty little secrets of the surgical suite.

This story ended with Harold Hill surrendering his license, but Alpine Hospital is still in business.

Would you EVER go there? I sure woudln't!

California Vet Board Newsletter Announcing Disciplinary Action

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

VCA Vet Marjorie Field Wraps Dogs Throat and Head Too Tightly; Dog Dies of Suffocation (Michigan)

This is one of those rare cases that actually made it to court.

Here is an excerpt from the opinion of the court:

"Plaintiff [John Koester] left his dog at defendant VCA's kennel for a weekend. Plaintiff left explicit instructions not to use a collar on the dog because of a salivary gland problem for which VCA had previously treated the pet. Upon returning for the dog, plaintiff noticed that the dog's neck area was swollen. Within a few days, when the dog continued to exhibit swelling in the neck area, plaintiff returned to defendant VCA. Defendant [Marjorie] Field, a veterinarian, treated the dog by draining its enlarged gland and bandaging its neck and head. When plaintiff returned to pick up his dog after the procedure, he noticed that the dog appeared to have trouble breathing and asked defendant Field whether the bandages were too tight. Field responded that the dog would be fine once it calmed down. Later that same day, plaintiff left the dog alone for ten to fifteen minutes to run an errand. When plaintiff returned home, he discovered the dog laying motionless on the floor, having apparently choked to death. An autopsy determined that the dog suffocated to death because the bandages were wrapped too tightly."

Unfortunately, the Court did not award Koester the damages he sought for emotional distress. However, the facts of the case are there for all to see.

What kind of emotional distress do you think he suffered, contemplating his dog suffocating to death? Strangled to death by bandages wrapped too tight? What kind of emotional distress would YOU suffer?

So, here is another question: Did vet Marjorie Field move to Ohio after this case, and did she continue to practice NEGLIGENTLY?

A web search of "Marjorie Field, DVM" brings up 2003 minutes from the Ohio Veterinary Board, discussing investigation into a complaint against "Marjorie Field, DVM."


Case Details, Koester vs. VCA Animal Hospital

Citation among list of animal law cases

Actual Case Document