Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Poor, Poor Georgia Piggy, R.I.P.

This is the story of how a "euthanasia" that was to be performed by Georgia veterinarian Ronald Martin ended in the horrific drowning of a conscious, squealing, struggling pet pig named "Ren."

The Georgia Vet Board's document says:

"On or about December 2, 2004, [Martin] was asked to euthanize "Ren", a Vietnamese Pot-Bellied pig that had been kept as a pet for twelve years but had stopped eating or leaving the house and appeared to be in pain. Respondent went to the owner's home to perform the procedure."

"According to his records, [Martin] injected 10.6 ml of Ketaset subcutaneously. The pig was dissociated, but not generally anesthetized. [Martin] then attempted to inject a euthanasia solution intravenously in five or more sites for a total of 136 ml. When [Martin] ran out of the solution, however, the pig was still alive."

[Martin] "then told the owner he could drown the pig in a bucket of water. [Martin], the owner and a neighbor held the pig down in the water while the pig struggled, squealed and kicked. The pig drowned a few minutes later."

The Board reviewer found that Martin's actions constituted cruelty to Ren, saying:

"Subcutaneous injection of a ketamine solution, as indicated in [Martin's] records, is an incorrect route of administration."

"[Martin's] attempts to inject the euthanasia solution intra-venously failed to meet minimum standards for performing vena-puncture."

[The documents do not provide any details on how those "attempts" may have been botched, why he had to try so many times, or why he messed up performing the "vena-puncture."]

"Drowning is not an acceptable method of euthanizing an animal, and further it is cruel and inhumane. It is beneath the standard of care for a veterinarian to initiate or assist such an act, or to observe it without objection."

The Board fined Martin $1,000, ordered him to take only 5 hours of continuing education in large animal procedure, and gave him a public reprimand. No suspension.

It makes me so very sad to think what poor Ren suffered in his final moments. R.I.P., poor Ren.