Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fairfax VA's Crosspoint Animal Hospital Kills Dog Without Permission of Owners

It's all over the news, so if you are local, you've heard by now of the terrible, horrible, awful story that should strike fear into the heart of every pet owner. For really, this could happen to almost anyone.

Allen and Allison Holmes of Occoquan Virginia had shared their lives with, and loved, their dog Basie, a Corgi-Border Collie mix, for nearly 17 years, according to press reports. Basie was an old dog. But Basie, according to accounts, was still hanging in there. Still eating, still drinking, still doing her business and going out in the yard. And that is where she was when her owners went inside for 15 minutes. When they came out, Basie was gone.

Now, like any old dog, Basie was slow moving, and they knew she couldn't have gotten far. But unfortunately, Basie was picked up by a client of Crosspoint Animal Hospital who saw her and took her there.

There, where the vets of their own accord decided that "for humane reasons that the dog should be put down." Within mere hours of being lost from her yard, the much loved old dog was dead. No hold period. No search for owners. Nothing.

A vet who apparently didn't care enough to find out if this lost old dog had loving owners looking for her. Which she did.

It is horrifying that your pet could go missing and within hours be summarily killed by a veterinarian without the vet, or the shelter (which the vet CLAIMS they called the local shelter and asked permission to kill the dog -- although I don't know how the shelter could possibly give permission for such a thing since the dog had only been lost for a few hours and that doesn't constitute any kind of hold period) checking to see if someone has reported a lost dog matching your pets description.

In fact, when confronted about the vet's claims that they called the shelter and asked permission to kill the dog that had been picked up on the street by a client and had only been in their office a brief period, according to one press report, "the Fairfax County Police Department, which oversees Animal Control, clarified that the shelter would never give that advice. Officer Shelly Broderick told WUSA the decision to put the dog down was the veterinarian's alone."

While press reports say the owners are considering a suit, and have not decided, I will predict that any action they take will be met with derision and nothing but further heartache, because these people who claim to love animals in the vet world believe that they should get to do whatever they want to our pets, and no one should question them. They have lobbies and money and they have made damn well sure that it remains virtually impossible to get justice when our pets are injured or killed. This is a vicious cycle. Because there is no accountability, it emboldens them further to act with disregard and impunity, arrogance, and the God Complex that allows them to mete out death to our loved ones on a veritable whim, without due process, without a search for a family, without even providing adequate time for the family to find the dog.

When Basie's family found her, the very day after she disappeared, they were given back a box of ashes. And apparently, no apologies. Not that an apology would be anywhere near enough.

In the words of her loving owner Allison, thanks to this vet, "Basie died alone with strangers, which is the real tragedy."

Shame, shame shame.

Links to local coverage:

Owners of Euthanized Dog May File Suit

OK, this is not local -- they care about this stuff in Great Britain, too. They find it horrifying.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

There is Yet Another Black Mar on the Face of Veterinary Medicine

Yes, that's right. There is another black mar on the face of Veterinary Medicine, and its name is Dr. Dawn Blackmar.

Blackmar, who reportedly is paid $125,000 a year to run Harris County Animal Control in Texas, presides over what can only be called a house of horrors at the Harris County Animal Control "shelter."

See the recent TV investigative report for yourself from Houston's Fox News station:

Former Animal Control Employees React to FOX 26 Investigation:

" . . the more we continue to investigate . . . the more gut-wrenching stories we hear," says journalist Randy Wallace.

Animals made to watch each other killed, including mother dogs made to watch their puppies killed, and puppies forced to watch their mother's killed. This practice is against the law. "Look at these pictures . . . " Wallace says, showing the proof.

Former employees say this has been going on for years.

"The more questions we asked Blackmar, the more she tried to pretend we weren't there" said the reporter, who asked the six-figure salary veterinarian and sadist in chief if the taxpayer's weren't owed an explanation for the horrors they have learned about. The video shows Blackmar coldly walking away.

Like she has from the suffering of all the animals she has overseen the killing of. According to former employee, this has been going on for years.

Except I suspect its more than merely walking away. I think that someone who goes on running a place like this, a torture chamber of mental torture for the human employees and sheer Auchwitz-like terror death camps for animals must enjoy it.

I think she must be a sadist.

"Dr. Blackmar has been there for too long," said a former employee. "They don't see anything wrong with it. It's been going on for years . . ."

We here at Bad Vet Daily agree. She needs to go.

Talking about how awful it was to hear the allegations about the momma dog being killed in front of her puppies, the female newscaster says: "It's just too much," said a female newscaster.

"It makes you want to cry," said the male newscaster.

The station is running a poll and the public can participate, on whether or not they think Blackmar should resign. I know how I vote! Sign the petition to urge the prosecution of Dawn Blackmar! Sign the Petition!

How much more evidence does the public need that sadists who enjoy animal torture are drawn to the field of veterinary medicine?

More coverage of Blackmar's reign of terror, sadism, and death:

Shelter Won't Consider Offer that Could Save Money and Lives

A Tragic Example of the Urgent Need for Texas CAPA

Investigation into Animal Shelter has Officials Considering Changes

More Questions Surrounding Harris County Animal Control

County Attorney Says Laws Violated at Harris County Animal Control

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Enough to Know you Don't Want to Go There: Larry Britt, Florida, Allegedly Lets Patient Bleed to Death

UPDATE: After writing this post I did more research on the subject, Larry Britt. It seems that Dr. Britt has a very disturbing prior history before this most recent disciplinary action by the Board. In 2008, according to press articles, Britt was arrested on two felony charges, one for filing a fraudulent insurance claim and the other for alleged theft of a show horse named "Bellagio." Press accounts of this can be found here. I find it particularly ironic that Britt, who appears to be still affiliated with "Roadrunner Vet Clinic", markets himself as an equine dentist. The veterinary industry -- its boards and associations - have been going after unlicensed but traditionally trained equine "tooth floaters" for years, claiming that only licensed vets like Britt should be able to provide any kind of dental care to horses. They claim their attempts to stop the "tooth floaters" are all about patient safety. I, and most other consumers I know, believe it is about money -- protecting the source of income. And here is a licensed vet, Larry Britt, engaging in an apparent pattern of clearly unethical and even dangerous behavior. But he's stil a licensed vet. BEWARE!

The Florida Veterinary Board, while it is responsive to public records requests for disciplinary records, don't appear to make these records available online. You can see if a vet has a record, but you can't get the details by using their license verification feature.

However some information is included in their Board minutes, albeit not the details. In some cases you really can't tell what happened, and in other cases what appears in the minutes is JUST ENOUGH for you to know to stay away. I believe any loving Florida owner would want to steer clear of Larry Britt, DVM in Plant City Florida after reading the minutes of the December 2010 Florida vet board meeting.

These minutes state:

" . . . the administrative complaint alleges that the Respondent falsified records and allowed one of his patients to bleed to death. Ms. Duffy [investigator] advised the board that the department recommended a five thousand dollar ($5,000.00) fine, eight hundred and three dollars and twenty three cents ($803.23) in costs, three (3) years probation, ten (10) hours of continuing education in ethics and retake the Florida laws and rules exam."

"After discussion by the board the following motions was made.

MOTION: Dr. O’Neil made a motion to accept the settlement stipulation as presented.
SECOND: Dr. Figarola seconded the motion.
Dr. O’Neil withdrew his motion.
MOTION: Dr. Maxwell made a motion to reject the settlement stipulation.
SECOND: Dr. Simmons seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.
MOTION: Dr. Maxwell made a motion to offer a counter stipulation of a five thousand dollar ($5,000.00) fine, eight hundred and three dollars and twenty three cents ($803.23) in costs, three (3) years probation with an annual appearance and one at the end of probation, twenty (20) hours of continuing education ten (10) hours in ethics and ten (10) hours in Equine surgery and retake the Florida laws and rules exam."

This motion was passed.

So, I gather from the information in the minutes that the patient, or a patient, involved in the complaint was a horse, and that the horse bled to death, with Britt being accused of both falsifying records and allowing aforesaid patient to bleed to death.

After surgery, I presume. (Given the requirement to take continuing education in equine surgery).

Florida doesn't make it easy to find this information, at least not by vet name in a lookup on their site. It makes me wonder if they are trying to protect vets like this - trying to withhold information by hiding it in plain site, depriving clients from important facts they need to determine what vets they do, and do not, want to see.

I hope that Florida changes their license lookup feature to allow full access to all of the facts and allegations of the case, because this is very important for a consumer to make informed choices.

In the meantime, I wouldn't be taking my animals to Britt. Would you?

Links: Minutes from Florida Vet Board's December 2010 meeting

NOTE: According to the Annual Report of Florida's Department of Business and Professional Licensing, the Florida Veterinary Board received 599 complains in FY 2009-2010, but took only 38 disciplinary actions in that time period. That is a rate of 6 actions per 100 complaints, or 6%. That number is abysmal enough, but when you consider that some of the disciplinary actions taken may not have been in response to complaints, but may instead have resulted from inspection findings or CE violations, you realize the number is likely worse.

This means that if you file a complaint with the Florida Veterinary Board, there is a 94% chance of the board taken no disciplinary action.

Link to Annual Report

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Vet Sarah Pizano Fires Whistleblower and Turns off the Cameras After Employee Videotaped Performing Cruel, Deadly "Heartsticks" on Cats

Veterinarian Sarah Pizano has been the Director of Miami-Dade Animal Services since 2005. Tthe shelter she runs has come under harsh criticism from concerned members of the community and animal lovers.

A recent news investigation has exposed an unthinkable horror at the shelter -- and it may indicate that "heartsticks" -- a cruel, painful method of killing animals which cannot rightly be considered "euthanasia -- are more prevalent and widespread in the veterinary community than we would ever have realized, even after the revolting defense of Dr. William Baber by the President of the Tennessee Veterinary Board.

Again on horrifying video (you can watch it as a part of the news investigation here), we have the proof: Someone referred to as a "vet tech" -- an employee of Sarah Pizano -- shoving a needle with poisonous deadly fluid directly into the chest cavity and heart of conscious, aware, struggling, flailing, desperate homeless cats whose fates were entrusted to this "shelter."

Pizano's public statements would seem to indicate that she claims neither to have known that this was going on, or to support it. But where, I'd like to know, did her "vet tech" learn to do this barbaric technique -- done solely to make the killing go faster?

Luckily for the community, Grace Avila, a worker at the shelter, blew the whistle on this activity, which she described as painful - which was caught on tape and made available through the news investigations.

After she blew the whistle, Avila was fired.

And the guy who did the heartsticks? He was "demoted" and lost just $50 a week in pay.

Let's see, what message does that send from Pizano?

(Even though she CLAIMS her firing Avila had nothing to do with the whistleblowing).

What actions has Pizano taken since this revelation?

Well, she removed the cameras that tape what goes on at a facility a local animal activist called "a concentration camp."

She expressed concern about the community REACTION to what happened.

To me, this indicates that it's all about PR for the apparently camera loving Pizano, who, on her YouTube video, said "I make a difference for animals and people."

In that same video, Pizano said that one of her jobs is reuniting animals with their families. Well, I guess someone ought to ask the grieving owners of "Cowboy" about that.

Cowboy, who ran off during a storm that frightened him, was held at Miami-Dade in August 2005. (Pizano on her Youtube video said she began her tenure there in summer of 2005 which means she likely presided over this heartbreaking fiasco.) According to a lawsuit filed in Circuit Court, the owner called the shelter and described her dog, but the shelter wrongly told her that no dog matching that description was there. Two days in a row. Finally, someone at the shelter in a stroke of brilliance scanned his microchip, and phoned Cowboy's owners. Cowboy's owners attempted, according to the lawsuit, to make arrangements to pick him up the next day, but the shelter asserted one and then another set of administrative requirements upon the owners. They were told they could not pick up their dog not only without proof of rabies vaccine from their vet, but then were required to produce a notarized letter (according to the suit).

By the time his owners showed up that very same day to get him, with the handfuls of papers the shelter demanded, the shelter had killed their dog.

According to the lawsuit, a May 2004 evaluation (which to be fair, would have predated Pizano's term as director which started in 2005, the same year Cowboy was killed) conducted by the Humane Society of the United States concluded that the overall management, organization, and handling of animals at this shelter was "appalling."

It seems that under Pizano's tenure, things remain appalling.

There are now petition drives on both Facebook and the Petition Site for her removal as director.

Carmel on the Case: Video of Cats Being Given Heartsticks, and Pizano's Maddening Monotone Interview

New Horror Story about Miami-Dade

Petitions for the removal of Pizano:

Petition Site


Lawsuit Filed Against Miami-Dade for Unauthorized Euthanasia of a Dog Before the Owner had a Chance to Pick Him Up