Suki's Safe Haven is exactly what it sounds like - a safe place for victims of veterinary incompetence, negligence, and abuse to obtain information about this disturbing but important subject. It's a companion site to The Veterinary Abuse Network, which grew out of a site founded in 2000 in memory of Suki the Cat, REPEATEDLY MISTREATED BY EDWARD J NICHOLS DVM, CRESTWAY ANIMAL CLINIC, San Antonio, and to alert the public of serious flaws in state board systems that routinely look the other way to protect the vets - and not our pets. You'll find original posts and articles as well as links to victims' stories, resources, other sites and blogs, and media coverage from all over the net. We'll also cover First Amendment issues for those of us who have been sued by the very veterinarians who mistreated our pets and then used the legal system in an attempt to silence us.

We will never forget. We will never be silenced.

This is an independent consumer advocacy blog and not associated with any government agency in any way.

November 6, 2012

The Secret Truth About Abusive Veterinarians

"We dance around a ring and suppose but the secret sits in the middle and knows.”
The Secret Sits,” Robert Frost

My friend and fellow advocate Barbara Albright has had this quote on her site, Pocket's Story from New Hampshire, for years, but it was only recently that I fully understood how it applies to incompetent, negligent vets. Here's how that happened:

At a public meeting of the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (TBVME) in Austin, Texas, one of the board investigators and I had a conversation I'll never forget: He told me that whenever you see a vet reprimanded for violating recordkeeping statutes, it's sometimes because there were other, more serious violations, but the allegations were in effect “plea bargained” down to recordkeeping. Because disciplined vets sign an Agreed Order – vets have to “agree” to be disciplined – they and their lawyers do whatever they can to get the final results to an outcome they can live with – a little slap on the wrist, an "informal" reprimand, a “stayed” suspension (meaning the vet doesn't miss a day of work), and/or a puny fine.

Of course this board employee wasn't telling me anything that I and my fellow advocates didn't already know. Even if vets have directly or indirectly caused or contributed to the death of a pet, or great harm was done, their goal is to obtain the least amount of discipline to save face. Vets are rarely, if ever, disciplined only for sloppy, shabby, incomplete records, never mind that such records are a giant red flag as to what kind of truly inadequate, deficient vet you're dealing with.