Animal Medical Center of Southern California

24/7 General + Emergency Care (310) 575-5656

2340 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, California

Animal Medical Center

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Shelter Incompetence At Its Best

A couple of weeks ago, a three month old puppy deemed dead after being euthanized by a veterinarian at a shelter in Oklahoma was found very much alive in a trash bin outside the shelter by an animal control officer. This particular puppy, along with the rest of his litter, was left at the shelter. After having been assessed as sick, the puppies were given a “lethal” dose of medication and placed in the dumpster outside of the shelter.  On the bright side, shelter employees have received a number of offers from prospective owners who were touched by his story of survival. On the not so bright side, why the hell isn’t anybody speaking out about the total incompetence of this veterinarian and his staff?

There are a number of issues here that need to be addressed. Number one, how sick could a puppy have been in the first place to survive his illness AND a lethal dose of euthanasia serum and be a happy camper twelve hours later? The answer is——not very sick in the first place. Number two, how brain dead is this veterinarian for not being able to successfully determine whether or not he appropriately euthanized an animal? The answer is——quite brain dead, considering that he tried to euthanize the puppy TWICE. Number three, since when is it standard of practice to dump dead animals in a trash bin (unless of course, you are operatives of PETA)? The answer is——it’s illegal.  I could go on and on but I think you get the point.

While it goes without saying that this puppy was a lucky little bastard, one has to wonder how many other blunders this Oklahoma Shelter facility has committed in the past and how many more it will continue to commit in the future.  Based on the articles I’ve read, there has been absolutely no condemnation of these egregious acts by the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Board or any other state regulatory commission. It seems that everyone wants to focus on a feel good story of a puppy rising from the dead but nobody wants to question why the veterinarian felt the puppy was sick in the first place and why the veterinarian discarded a sedated but still very much alive puppy in a trash bin. Although it is unfortunate that the number one job description in many shelters is killing animals (which is a topic for another conversation), it is incomprehensible to me that this idiot couldn’t even do that right.  To justify killing an obviously healthy puppy, botch it miserably (twice), and dump him in the trash like yesterday’s newspaper is so below the standard of practice that it gives veterinarians everywhere a black eye. It is obvious that this veterinarian was so inured to the depressant effects of euthanasia that he totally mishandled the case. Considering the regulatory boards didn’t even slap him on the wrists, one can only hope that the doctor took this as an opportunity for reflection. After all, euthanasia deserves some contemplation as it is a serious detail we take on as veterinarians and should never be taken lightly.


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The Animal Medical Center of Southern California is devoted to providing the best medical, surgicalm and emergency critical care available in veterinary medicine. As important as our medical expertise is, we believe that excellent care combines state-of-the-art veterinary medicine and surgery with a focus on compassion and respect for your pet and for your family.

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