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.

March 27, 2013

Suki's Safe Haven is One Year Old Today!

Suki, hard at "work" in our office all those years ago--and still
today serving as my guiding spirit to help as many people as possible
avoid the kind of BadVet who killed her. 

Suki's blog turns one today—the first of what I hope will be many years of helping people to become more informed veterinary consumers and most importantly, know what to do to keep their pets safe at the vet's and what to do to vets who don't.

I can't believe the thousands of page views the blog has generated in just a year. Of course we're nowhere near the numbers of our mother site, The Veterinary Abuse Network (VAN). has been up in one form or another continuously since 2000 and has built an amazing following of bereaved and outraged pet owners and guardians eager for anything that would provide information about  BadVets and the systems that protect them. In 2012 alone VAN had 26,623 unique visitors; 40,761 visits; 106,216 pages viewed; and 369,613 hits. Add the previous eleven years and that's an awful lot of people searching for information and resources on everything from How to File a Complaint Against a Vet to watching out for "bargain basement" vets who practice substandard care in Beware of Dr. CheapVet, and of course the horror that started it all: my precious companion's fight for life in Suki's Story.

But Suki's Safe Haven is still a baby, and we're just getting started. I can tell you in our first year our most popular post has been Filing a Complaint With Your State Board: Why Do It. That tells me I need to do more posts that help people file complaints with their state boards. I know it's daunting to take on this huge, oppressive machine of vets (and their lawyers), state boards (and their lawyers), the state's Veterinary Medical Associations (and their lawyers), but the fact is that I always urge victims to file on their BadVets no matter how small the odds are that anything will be done. As a recent victim reminded me, it's about exposure—the bane of every lying, sneaky, manipulative, incompetent, negligent, malpracticing vet. Even one complaint can catch the worst of these creeps—and it just might be yours. Let's keep up the pressure on these boards to do their job and hold these BadVets accountable in ways serious enough to deter any other creep from doing the same thing. Period.

A post that surprised me with its popularity was the one on Gene Giggleman, DVM: “Think There Are No Cruel Vets?” Maybe that's because Giggleman was getting some pretty scary press elsewhere: Read about his other shenanigans in the excellent story by reporter Yamil Berard in the April 5, 2012 Fort Worth Star Telegram: “Grapevine veterinarian acknowledges issuing blank health forms for raided business.” 

And there's more...

Inhumane euthanasia? Coerced euthanasia? It happens—and more often than you'd like to think. Barbara Albright's Pocket's Story from New Hampshire illustrates the former, and there are a disturbing number of stories about the latter. Read Ken and Nonna Newman's horror story in  media coverage on their precious Trali. It happens.

Not surprisingly, our most popular page was The Lawsuit. If you haven't yet read how Edward J. Nichols of Crestway Animal Clinic came after me with three bottom-feeding lawyers in a bully SLAPP suit to try to take away my First Amendment rights with first a temporary injunction and then a permanent one (he failed at both), take a few minutes--you might enjoy the tail, um, tale of a cowardly  vet who waved the white flag the night before trial. I still smile every time I think of my attorney telling me when it was over: “Julie, you kicked his ass.” And now with Texas enacting anti-SLAPP legislation, it will be even harder for bully vets like Ed Nichols and Crestway Animal Clinic to use their wealth and the legal system to try to intimidate, threaten, or force a victim into silence. If you've been sued by a bully vet who doesn't want the public to know what he or she did to your pet and is willing to pay big bucks to tear your life apart, I want to know about it. The public has the right to know who and where these creeps are operating. 

The subject of “Vaccinations: What You Don't Know About Them Can Kill Your Pet” led to steady traffic for Texan Jena Gonzalez's fight to Educate Before You Vaccinate. Speaking of education, years after her death, Mattie's Story still touches many about what can happen when an arrogant vet ignores the principle of informed consent and decides to take matters into his own hands, in this case Dr. Bob Esplin of Sylvania Veterinary Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. Read Esplin's in-your-face quote and wonder how many other pets suffered Mattie's fate?

And so many, many more stories. Check out the archives of 2012 to see what you missed, and share this blog with all the animal lovers in your life. They need to know what can happen to their pets at a vet's office--and what happens when the vet gets away with it with the help of their staff, techs, other vets, their insurance companies, their lawyers, and the state board systems that are supposed to be protecting our pets, not the vets. Some of them even hire webmasters (or as I call some of them--spam-masters) to try to "bury" the rankings of negative reviews and web sites, too stupid to know how much trouble that will get them in, but then stupidity is rampant among BadVets. How stupid? Too stupid to know how stupid they really are. Which works in your favor. Believe it. 

To everybody who writes about and fights against BadVets, I cannot thank you enough for your work, support and encouragement. It's a whole new world of communication out there and it is growing exponentially as a true network of veterinary victims evolves into the next generation--savvy, smart, kick-ass, informed consumers to hopefully take the place of the old, tired, ignorant guard who thinks all vets love animals and none of them makes any money. BadVets cannot do what they do without your blind trust. Stop handing it over because they have a white coat and a stethoscope and they're so "nice" and "cheap." Do your homework.   I believe most vets are good in the same way I believe most people are good--but it's not enough. This is a profession that has enjoyed secrecy and protection behind closed doors for too long, and it's time to drag some of these vampires out into the sunlight and watch them shrivel up. 

Although I write alone, Suki is still hard at work as my guiding spirit, and we will always be a team. Without her strength and her will to live even through the most hideous and prolonged mistreatment imaginable, there would be no, no Suki's Story, no Suki's Safe Haven, and no future foundation that I hope to establish to help veterinary victims in real, tangible ways.  It is my dream to bring together enough people to get laws changed, policies improved, and most of all, transparency in the systems that have enjoyed their little secret, closed-door dealings to protect the worst of these monsters. 

In the meantime, Suki and I will continue to work hard to do everything we can to help keep people's pets safe at the vet. We can't do it alone. Keep writing, keep fighting, keep connecting, posting, sharing, tweeting, blogging, and spreading the message—especially the message that we will continue to send to every incompetent, negligent, sloppy, careless, lazy, arrogant vet who ever harmed or killed someone's beloved companion:

We will never forget. We will never be silenced.

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For information on filing a complaint with your state board, go to Filing a Complaint Against Your Vet or contact me here: Suki's Safe Haven