Lucky’s Legacy is dedicated to the memory of my beloved cat Lucky, who needlessly died because of an incompetent veterinarian. Lucky was my family and was loved beyond measure. No expense was spared in the care of his well being.
When I realized that mistakes were made with Lucky’s care and that he could have lived longer, I needed to know why. Through an exchange of emails it became apparent that I would not get the truth from the veterinarian. So I searched for the answers on the Internet. Durring the process I was horrified to learn that veterinarian malpractice is far too common. I reached out for help to a well-known organization, “The Animal Legal Defense Fund.”
They advised me to file a complaint with the state’s regulatory agency, New York State Board for Veterinary Medicine, and with the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the hospital where Lucky died. Even though I had proof through the emails and copies of all his medical records, all I received was a condolence letter from the state agency and a whitewash of the entire matter by the CMO. I was an “Animal Medical Center” patron for over twenty years and on many occasions, I received emails and letters requesting a donation. Even with the filed complaints I continued to receive the request!
When it appeared that there were no repercussions, I called an attorney. He informed me that because pets are viewed as “chattel,” mere possessions having monetary value (equal to the purchase price), there was little that I could do. I did not agree so I filed a claim. To read our whole story on how Lucky died and my pursuit for justice go to: Lucky’s Story
Why most people don’t sue:
“Victims of veterinary malpractice rarely sue because the costs of doing so often far outweigh the market value of the animal that they injure or kill. Even if they can find a competent animal rights attorney and an expert veterinary witness, the most that plaintiffs can hope to recover is what the law allows – the market value of the deceased or injured animal– which makes veterinary malpractice lawsuits out of reach for the average person.”
Who’s Policing the Vets?
The problem is that veterinarians are policing themselves. The New York state’s veterinary medicine regulatory agency is composed of seven licensed veterinarians and their responsibilities include regulating issues concerning licensure, qualifications, employment, and discipline! There is justification in questioning the objectivity of any agency when members of the very profession control it.
The Battle Begins
In Albany, there are hired lobbyists who represent the veterinarian interests. There are vets and vet techs obtaining positions of power in animal rights groups. Similarly, law firms are run by licensed attorneys who are also licensed veterinarians. “The Veterinary Practice Group” is one such law firm.
Who are they fighting for? Is there a conflict of interest?
There is Hope
Due to the diligence of animal rights attorneys, like Adam P. Karp, some states have had luck where “courts have honored the poignancy and duration of the human-nonhuman bond” by awarding a sum for intrinsic value. My hope is to make it the rule rather than the exception here in New York. But it can only happen with the public‘s awareness and willingness to put pressure on the government.
Help End Veterinarian Malpractice.
Be the voice of the voiceless and tell government, “our pets are not property”, and that “we demand legislation that holds all medical professionals accountable!”
A supporter recently said to me: “They bury their mistakes. Don’t let them get away with it.” Please join me in the fight.