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, 2012

Welcome to the new Veterinary Abuse Network blog! I'm excited to begin this new adventure as a companion site to VAN. I've named it Suki's Safe Haven because while I always thought I was doing everything possible to keep Suki safe, the fact is we were no match for an incompetent, negligent veterinarian. No one is.

Now I do everything I can to help keep others safe, by disseminating consumer advocacy information to those who find themselves in the position I was in 1999, when I realized that my trust in someone I never should have trusted cost my beloved Suki her life.

Worse, my trust in a state vet board system that failed Suki and me opened my eyes to the apathy and injustice at that level as well. It changed my life forever. In 2000, I founded a website that grew into my present one, communicated with other vet victims, and became more involved in speaking out at the state level to help get policies and laws changed so that the travesty that took place in Suki's case could never happen again. 

I hope you find something here that enlightens, informs, educates, comforts, and inspires you to take action to spread the word about veterinary malpractice, negligence, incompetence and abuse, and the veterinary boards that protect all of the above. Increasing media coverage of incompetent, negligent vets, horrendous stories of malpractice, and reports on the failure of state board systems to protect our pets will help us all become better veterinary consumers as we learn from the experiences of others. 

This is a world I never knew existed, but I'd like to think that pet guardians are getting smarter and not as likely to be fooled by appearances. Even if you think your vet is the “nicest guy” or the “greatest gal” on earth, I'm here to tell you that things are not always what they seem. In short, never confuse personality with proficiency, being cheap with being honest, or having degrees with true intelligence. Get copies of your pet's records, get second opinions before you need them, and trust your instincts if something doesn't sound, look, or feel quite right. Above all, never blindly trust your vet. For the very worst of these quacks, that's exactly what they count on. 

My best to you and your beloved companions,

Julie Catalano
Founder, The Veterinary Abuse Network

Julie Catalano is an independent writer and a credentialed member of the Authors Guild and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. She has published hundreds of articles in local, regional and national consumer and trade publications for more than 30 years. She's won awards from Women in Communications, International Association of Business Communicators, and the San Antonio Advertising Federation, and has published three books, the most recent The Women's Pharmacy: An Essential Guide to What Women Should Know About Prescription Drugs (New York: Random House/Dell, 2000). 

On August 19, 2000, after a devastating experience with a Texas veterinarian who was inexplicably exonerated by a single board vet in Austin who ignored all of the documented evidence in Suki's case, she founded a web site that evolved into the Veterinary Abuse Network, a grass roots companion animal resource site to inform the public about the problems of veterinary negligence and the systems that protect it. 

In 2004, her testimony to the Sunset Commission in Austin led to changes in the complaint review process in Texas--changes that were unfortunately changed back as a result of the 2016 Sunset Review. She remains involved in monitoring activities at the state board level. From 2005-2008 she successfully battled a lawsuit and unconstitutional injunction initiated by the same vet who mistreated Suki whose goal it was to dismantle her web site and take away her First Amendment rights. He failed. 

In recent years, she and other citizen advocates who speak out against veterinary malpractice, negligence, incompetence and abuse have been the target of intimidation, attacks, and threats by vicious vets and their "fans" who support the endless lies told by BadVets when they are caught. These vindictive, unethical vets routinely slander and libel advocates in a desperate attempt to deliberately mislead the public, the media, even their own clients, into thinking that vets--not the animals--are the real victims. Their favorite buzzword is "cyberbullying" and they use it whenever possible in an attempt to thwart, demean and destroy any and all criticism of vets. They have failed.

She has been interviewed for news segments on major network affiliates in Dallas and San Antonio and has been a featured guest on radio shows online and off, helping consumers make more informed choices in veterinary care. A story about Suki entitled "The Sun Worshiper," appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Cat's Life: 101 Stories (2011). She is available for media interviews, writing and speaking engagements, and guest blogging. Contact her here.