Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vet Darry Griebel and Lehigh Acres Animal Hospital Kill Two Dogs for Unpaid Bill


Lehigh Acres Animal "Hospital", under vet Darry Griebel -- a veterinarian with a prior record of violations and disciplinary record with the Florida Veterinary Board, who practices in Lehigh Acres Florida -- has killed a client's two dogs because he had an unpaid $2,000 boarding bill. According to news accounts, the family found themselves unable to pay the bill due to a family medical emergency. But the Veterinary "Hospital" killed the dogs. According to local news reports, he took this action in spite of the fact that a rescue group had come forward and asked for 24 hours to raise the money, as well as offered to take over care of the dogs, after the vet threatened to kill the dogs. In fact, according to the news reports, "dozens of people devoted time and money in hopes of saving that family's dog" to help pay off the debt -- money the vet hospital continued to accept even after they had already killed the dogs.

On August 20th, angry local citizens protested in the rain outside Lehigh Acres Animal "Hospital." News cameras from local station WINK news were there.

"They should be sued, they should be shut down," one protester said.

"I don't think a clinic that practices in this . . . manner has any business being open," said another.

An animal rescue group had asked the vet to give them 24 hours to pay the bill, the report said. But the vet Griebel was unwilling to do that, and killed the dogs -- although reports are that they continued to take money sent in as donations by people hoping their donations would spare the dogs.

"I've been doing rescue for 19 years. I've never seen a case handled like this, never, ever. When someone stepped forward -- a rescue AND a vet clinic -- offering to pay the bill. Why didn't they let us pay the bill today, and the dogs would be alive, and the family would have their dogs back?" asked a clearly emotional Ginny Bashear, rescue group representative.

We couldn't agree with her more.

I ask you -- should a place even be allowed to be called a "hospital" when they kill patients over unpaid bills?

If the hospital killed your child because you had an unpaid balance, what do you think would happen? Do you think they would be shut down by the authorities?

Do you think this place will be shut down by the "authorities" that run the Florida State Board of Veterinary Medicine?

Well, they should be. But they WON'T be. But if those valiant citizens have their way, they just might succeed in doing what the veterinary board SHOULD do, but won't do -- driving them out of business.

Bravo to the caring citizens of Lehigh Acres.


Angry Protestors Camp Outside Lehigh Acres Vet Hospital, WINK News

Lehigh Animal Hospital Threatens to Put Dogs Down over Bill Dispute

Minutes of Meeting at Which Prior Disciplinary Action Against Griebel is Recorded

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Virginia Vet William Will Shows NO LOVE to Patient Kismet

It is a bit ironic that Virginia Veterinarian William Will works at a clinic called the “love” clinic. Because love is certainly the last thing he displayed to his patient, a frightened (as well he should have been) dog whose life he took, sometime after he yanked him out of a truck by his leash so roughly that the dog’s face hit the ground. Also disturbing is Will’s prior disciplinary history, which goes back to 1989.

In an order dated March 2, 2010, the Virginia Board of Veterinary Medicine found that:

“On March 31, 2009 [veterinarian William Will] . . . provided substandard care for ‘Kismet,’ a canine. “When Kismet was frightened and did not respond to urging that he enter the office, Dr. Will pulled said canine from his owner’s truck by leash resulting in Kismet hitting his face on the pavement.”

[And they term this “substandard care?” OK, the word I would use is “abuse!”]

“Following Kismet’s soiling of his clinic’s floor, Dr. Will shouted obscenities which greatly upset Kismet’s owner.”

“Dr. Will diagnosed “parvo” without performing any laboratory tests and suggested that Kismet be euthanized. Dr. Will acknowledged that he ‘chose not to treat the dog due to its demeanor.’”

DEMEANOR? The dog was (wisely) scared and didn’t want to come into his vet clinic, and then was so scared that it pooped on the floor, so Dr. Will decided to issue the dog a death sentence? And they call that “substandard care?” I call it sadism, and murder.

“Dr. Will failed to include pertinent medical data in the patient record of Kismet regarding his March 31, 2009, visit to his clinic. Dr. Will’s brief entry in the medical record referred only to Kismet’s euthanization.”

OK, so let me get this straight: The dog might not have had parvo, and although the vet led the client to believe that he was recommending the dog be euthanized because of parvo, the real truth – as the vet admitted – is that the vet wanted to kill the dog, and did kill the dog, because of the dog’s “demeanor?” Was he exacting retribution against the dog for being afraid of him, and for pooping on his floor?

The document goes on to say:

“A consent order of the Board, entered March 4, 2009 (“Board’s Order”), ordered that Dr. Will’s clinic uundergo an unannounced inspection within the subsequent six month period. On July 19, 2009 and inspector from the Department of Health Professions inspected Dr. Will’s clinic and found that he was out of compliance in two areas. A) Dr. Will’s surgical suite was unsanitary. B) Syringe’s were left on the counter tops of Dr. Will’s pharmacy and grooming areas.”

In it’s “Conclusions of Law” section ,the board cite’s violations by section of Virginia code only – which seems to be a neat little trick to avoid naming, in layman’s terms, the violations the vet was found to have committed. A member of the public would have to actually go through the trouble of looking up each cited code section to determine what violations were found. So we will do that here.

Unprofessional Conduct (violation of Virginia code 54.1-3807(5)) and VAC 150-20-140(6) and (7)

Recordkeeping Violations (violation of the above cited Virginia code section as well as Veterinary regulation 150-20-195)

Violation of Standards for Veterinary Establishments (violation of the above cited Virginia code section as well as Veterinary regulation 150-20-200 (A) (1))

So get this:

The Veterinary Board suspended his license for 2 years but STAYED all but 30 days of that suspension (and frankly, from the information available online, I wonder if they may have even stayed that 30 days, because the site shows a “stay” of suspension order).

They ordered him to take 15 hours worth of continuing education in customer relations, practice management, and “controlling controlled drugs.”

[Gee whiz – yanking a dog out of a car by its leash so that its face hits the ground, then killing it because you don’t like its demeanor – that’s just a ‘customer relations’ problem . . .????? What, no classes in ‘How not to be a psycho asshole?’]

They fined Will $5,000 and ordered that his clinic be subjected to unannounced inspections.

But wait . . .
Dr. Will already had failed an inspection by the board. In yet another consent order issued by the Veterinary Board, dated March 4, 2009, the Board found that:

“On November 4, 2008, an inspector from the Department of Health Professions performed an inspection of the Love Shop Veterinary Clinic, Halifax, Virginia, where Dr. Will is employed as veterinarian-in-charge. The following deficiencies were discovered in the course of said inspection:

a. The facility, including the surgery room, was not clean nor was it sanitary.

b. The facility lacked an animal identification system that would identify all animals kept on the premises.

c. There was no resuscitation bag on the premises.

d. There were no signed disclosure forms in the patient files.

e. Medications in pill and syringe form were unsecured, with open pill bottles in the pharmacy area and syringes left on counter tops in the surgery area and elsewhere.

They fined him $500 and reprimanded him, ordering that his practice also be subjected to an unannounced inspection within 6 months of the date of the order (March 4, 2009).

Why are they yet again including unannounced inspections as an action against this vet when already, he has failed to clean up his act after inspections have found his premises, including his surgical area which should be sterile, filthy, in addition to other violations? More importantly, notwithstanding their $5,000 fine (hefty by Vet Board standards) WHY ARE THEY ALLOWING THIS VET, WITH A LONG DISCIPLINARY HISTORY, TO PRACTICE AT ALL?

As stated above, Will’s first violation, according to Board records from 1989, occurred in 1987. It was over two years between the incident itself and the Board’s order. In that case, the board found that:

“ . . . Dr. Will treated Flash, a canine owned by Ms. Sherrie Talley, in a substandard manner by not performing an adequate preoperative evaluation in that he did not take a preoperative radiograph. That Dr. Will did not refer the patient to a specialist, but instead attempted treatment that he was not properly qualified to perform.” Then the Board document states “That as a result of the aforesaid substandard treatment, the fractures did not heal properly, and euthanasia of the canine occurred on or about June 16, 1987.”

In that case, the board merely fined Will $100.

The question that must be asked in cases such as this is:

Do State Veterinary Boards bear some responsibility for ongoing acts of negligence, substandard care, unprofessional behavior (including physical violence) of veterinarians when those veterinarians show a pattern going back years, with multiple violations, and yet the Vet Boards give the vets a mere slap on the wrist time after time – IF THAT?

Do the overseers of a regulated industry (in this case, veterinary medicine) become RESPONSIBLE for ongoing violations and the impact of those violations (up to and including death) when they clearly practice lax enforcement and issue laughably miniscule or clearly ineffective penalties time and time again, all the while allowing repeat violators to keep practicing their “business as usual?”

Certainly, this question has been asked repeatedly about the Minerals Management Service in the wake of the Gulf Oil “spill” (more like a volcano) – and I can’t help but think of our nation’s veterinary boards whenever the incident in the Gulf prompts discussion about regulators who fail to regulate, because they are “in bed with” the people they are supposed to enforce standards for and regulate. I do believe that those organizations become criminally responsible for the havoc that is caused by the repeat-offender professionals they refuse to adequately regulate.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Florida Veterinarian Margaret Fowler Charged with Felony Animal Cruelty in Beating Death of Cat

A Florida woman says that on March 1, 2010 she stepped outside her front door to see a horrifying sight: her own neighbor repeatedly hitting a cat with a blunt object that looked like a rubber mallet with a wooden handle. Then, the witness said she saw this neighbor pick up the cat by the tail, carry it to the fence, and drop it over. It was then, the witness claims, that she walked over to the cat and saw that it was her own live-in boyfriend's cat.

These events would be horrific enough, no matter who perpetrated them. They are all the more chilling because the alleged perpetrator is veterinarian Margaret Fowler, who runs an "acupuncture and holistic" veterinary service from her home.

According to the Sheriff's office report, a necropsy performed on the cat showed the cause of death to have been "exsanguination" -- the cat bled to death -- after suffering blunt force trauma to the head and abdomen.

Fowler was arrested and charged with Felony Animal Cruelty.

This article seems to include a picture which looks like a mug shot.

Is it just me, or is this woman smiling?

Is she smiling because she knows that no matter what they do, vets almost always walk away with little or no punishment from any legal or regulatory agency?

Article -- news.

Link: Local Vet Charged with Cruelty to Animals

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Colorado Vet Debra Megonigle Sends "Technician" (?) to Treat Horse; Technician Pours Mineral Oil Into Horses Lungs and Kills It.

In this rare case that actually resulted in discipline, the following story is told in the public record documents of the Colorado Vet Board:

"[Debra Megonigle] was the registered agent of Animal Emergency Room and Medical Center, Inc., located in Pueblo, Colorado, on or about May 31 and June 1, 1999.

". . . the Animal Emergency Room and Medical Center, Inc., was contacted about a gelding horse suffering from colic. The horse and horse's owner were from California and were attending an AQHA horse show at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo."

"[Debra Megonigle] sent Mr. "KC" (Casey) Cooper, a veterinary technician employed by Emergency Room and Medical Center, to treat the horse. Cooper administered mineral oil via a naso-gastric tube. Cooper also injected the horse with Bentamine."

"The horse ultimately died as a result of having mineral oil inserted into its lungs."

"At no time during Cooper's care of the horse was a veterinarian on premises or available to supervise his care of the horse."

"On or about June 18, 1999, [Debra Megonigle] completed a form supplied by Equine Insurance Claims Services, Inc. The form related to Cooper's treatment of the horse on May 31, 1999. In the space listing veterinarian, [Debra Megonigle] crossed out "Casey Cooper, DVM" and inserted "Debra Megonigle, DVM."

[NOTE TO READERS: Serious questions are raised by this passage.

Were the horse's owners led to believe that Cooper was a veterinarian? (This would explain why their insurance company's form would list him that way.)

Was Cooper even a licensed technician? (I doubt it, since it seems to me the document from the veterinary board would specify so if that were the case.)

In making this change, was Megonigle trying to mislead anyone into believing that she had actually been present when the incident occured?

The document continues . . . ]

"The above-described conduct constitutes violations of the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act . . . "

They go on to cite five violations of the act including sections pertaining to:

"Fraud, deception, misrepresentation, or dishonest or illegal practices in or connected with the practice of veterinary medicine" . .. .

"Incompetence, negligence, or other malpractice in the practice of veterinary medicine . . . "

"Unprofessional or unethical conduct . . . "

"An act or omission which fails to meet generally accepted standards of veterinary practice . . . "

As a result of these cited violations, the board suspended Megonigle's license for a month, placed her on probation for a year, and fined her $5,000 ($1,000 for each of 5 violations).

Although you might not think this is enough, it's more than boards usually do. I must ask however:

If the same thing had been done but the patient were a cat or dog, rather than a horse whose owners had equine insurance and were in town to attend an American Quarterhorse show, would the action have been as strong?

Can you even imagine the suffering that this horse must have gone through?

Public Record Document taken from the website of the Colorado Veterinary Board:


Dr. Megonigle never paid the Colorado Veterinary Board the $5,000 fine. In April, 2001, the Board sent her a letter regarding her non-payment. Later that year, without ever having paid any portion of the $5,000 fine, Debra Megonigle declared bankruptcy in Texas, and all of her debts were discharged on December 13, 2001. The Colorado Board informed her that this penalty was not dischargable in bankruptcy, but she still didn't pay it, and so faced with revocation of her license Megonigle surrendered her license in Colorado and is now practising in TEXAS.

Web searches on Dr. Megonigle seem to indicate that she was working at Island Animal Clinic in Port Aransas Texas in mid 2009.