|"Suki's Sunflower," pastel.|
Copyright 2011, Julie Catalano
Fifteen years. Fifteen years since my Suki was taken from me by a so-called doctor who had no right, reason, or permission to do what he did.
Of the hundreds of fellow victims I have communicated with over 15 years, we all agree, almost to a person: My life will never be the same.
But we keep fighting.
We fight through the maze of state veterinary boards who frequently look the other way, letting a vet walk scot-free or administering not much more than a slap on the wrist, if that.
We witness endless frustrations with a legal system that gives little or no protection to our beloved family members who turn into worthless property once a vet has harmed or killed them.
We shake our heads as we have to listen to the endless, disgusting filth spread by smug BadVets and their sadistic groupies who delight in taunting us, "Everything dies, get over it, get help" no matter how much documented evidence exists to prove negligence or malpractice. Sadists don't care. Their job is to inflict the maximum amount of pain, not to be bothered with facts.
We slog through the death threats and hate mail (and after 15 years I must hold the record lol), along with sanctimonious preaching by a vet's friends, family, and fans who 1) have no earthly idea what really happened, or 2) worse, know what happened but couldn't care less, because their friend comes before any laws, statutes, humanity, or decency. And BadVets love it, because they already know what they did; the fun part is watching the clueless fans buy into the lie. As one of the investigators in Austin told me: "For some of these people, it's a game." Believe me, I know exactly what he meant.
But after 15 years I think I can say that things are slowly...slowly...getting better. Little by little, as victims find each other, tell our stories, file board complaints, and use our web sites, blogs, and social media to get the word out, there will be fewer places for the worst of the profession to hide. Increased media coverage on BadVets has accomplished two wonderful things: Documented cases of allegations, charges and/or convictions; and putting the vets' names and their own words, in writing, for public scrutiny, forever. Vet boards know they are being watched too. Some are handling it better than others.
So we keep fighting. For better laws, better procedures and policies at the state board level, and better protection for companion animals who never deserved what was done to them. We don't this for our pets. For most of us, our pets are dead. We do this, as I frequently say, for the people who have not yet met the vet who's going to change their lives forever. May you never meet that vet.
Thank you for your unflagging support, friendship, love, encouragement, and most of all for your own advocacy. We will make a difference. We are making a difference.
-- Julie Catalano, Founder, The Veterinary Abuse Network and Suki's Safe Haven
Founded in memory of Suki the cat, victim of Edward J. Nichols, Crestway Animal Clinic, San Antonio, Texas
"Fifteen Years," The Veterinary Abuse Network, vetabusenetwork.com, April 26, 2014