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January 12, 2015 / V A Nichols

Greedy Vets Club Urges State Board To Ignore Judge’s Opinion In Spay/Neuter Clinic Case

“All spay/neuter clinic supporters and anyone else who believes that state professional boards are in place to protect the public from bad actors, not protect the profits of the people they regulate are urged to attend and counter the bad actors within the state veterinary community.”

by: countrycat

Mon Jan 12, 2015 at 10:23:49 AM CST

Dr. Margaret Ferrell said she felt “sheer joy” last week after an administrative law judge hired by the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners found her not guilty on all 29 counts in the long-running witch hunt the ASBVME has conducted against the states low-cost spay & neuter clinics. The Alabama Veterinary Practice Owners Association wasn’t nearly has happy with the outcome.  In an email sent to members last week, the group urged members to contact board members and pack the upcoming January 16 hearing.  AVPOA wants the board to set aside the findings of the judge hired by the board – in part because he isn’t a veterinarian.

Confused by that last part?  Aren’t we all, but it makes about as much sense as anything else they’ve tried to do.  At least they didn’t drag the Bible into it this time.

Let’s review the history of Dr. Ferrell’s case.  In July, the ASBVME decided to convene a new kangaroo court against Dr. Ferrell – who had just been appointed to the board by Governor Bentley. the charges against Dr. Ferrell were, well… odd:

  • Patients have been kept at the facility overnight without any overnight monitoring by Dr. Ferrell or a licensed veterinarian.  Now, with 7 cats & 3 dogs, we have often had animals held overnight at the vet’s office & I know for a fact that nobody was on the premises.  The ASBVME would have to shut down virtually every vet in the state to enforce this.
  • Dr. Ferrell often operates on a patient without an “established relationship” or any contact at all with the human owner.  Again, when we had our pound puppy spayed this spring, we dropped her off at the vet’s office (a new vet we decided to try) and never met the doctor until after the surgery was performed.
  • Dr. Ferrell has “rejected” the surgical training she received at Auburn University and instead sought training in a “new technique” that allows her to do high-volume surgeries.  Don’t all Alabama vets study new surgical techniques when they are introduced?  Otherwise, we have some 70 year old vets still using 40+ year old treatment protocols.
  • Some of Dr. Ferrell’s patients had complications from surgery.  Yeah.  That happens.  That happened 6 years ago when we took our cat to a specialist – an orthopedic vet – because her foot was broken when we found her and she needed special surgery.  After complications, we had to pay for a second surgery a few months later.  Should I send this vet’s name to the ASBVME, I wonder?

All this – and more – was brought up during the hearing held before Administrative Law Judge James Jerry Wood (read the entire 39-page opinion) and he didn’t fall for it a bit.  In his opinion, Judge Wood calls out the Greedy Vets Club for their bias & lack of credibility:

“Having heard testimony at the hearing and having witnessed the witnesses’ demeanor, having assessed their credibility, having considered possible witnesses biases, and having reviewed exhibits submitted by both the ASBVME and the Respondent, the undersigned finds that the greater weight of evidence supports the following finding of fact.”

What follows is absolutely devastating to the ASBVME’s case and makes you wonder if their DJ lawyer, Mark Montiel, might be better suited to radio commentary than legal strategy. Judge Wood found:

  • The veterinarians employed by the Alabama Spay & Neuter Clinic are completely responsible for making medical decisions – they don’t report to any non-veterinarian.

  • The credible evidence is that Dr. Ferrell provides the veterinary supervision of veterinary personnel at ASNC.”

  • The ASNC is careful to comply with all state regulations.

  • The credible, unbiased evidence established that Dr. Ferrell’s in-take and discharge procedures are within the standard of care.

  • The evidence established that Dr. Ferrell is an exceptionally good veterinarian who happens to work at a facility that some of the ASBVME witnesses believe to be “unfair economic competition” to other veterinarians owing to the nonprofit status of ASNC.

  • The credible, unbiased evidence does not establish a violation of the Alabama Veterinary Practice Act.

But the Greedy Vets Club professional organization, the Alabama Veterinary Practice Owners Association (ALVPOA), is going quietly.  The group slammed Judge Wood in an email last week (read it here) and is asking the board to ignore the judge’s findings from a hearing that not even one board member bothered to attend.

The ALVPOA complains that the recommendations of “six veterinarians with over 220 years of practice” were ignored by a judge “with no veterinary experience” and that the ASBVME “spent countless hours” reviewing the charges and holding hearings (because the board paid itself for those hearings while keeping Dr. Ferrell away from her practice and costing her big bucks to pay her lawyer).  Meanwhile, Judge Wood only spent “two days” listening to expert testimony before setting aside the ASBVME charges.

Hey, it doesn’t take long to review BS charges brought by biased sources with little or no credibility.

The ASBVME has the legal right to ignore Judge Wood’s ruling and proceed with its Star Chamber persecution of Alabama’s low cost clinics and the dedicated veterinarians who provide this service. The ALVPOA is urging the board to do just that at a special meeting taking place this Friday – July 16 – at 9:30 am at 8 Commerce Street, Suite 910, in Montgomery.

The Greedy Vets Club wants its members to pack the chamber.  All spay/neuter clinic supporters and anyone else who believes that state professional boards are in place to protect the public from bad actors, not protect the profits of the people they regulate are urged to attend and counter the bad actors within the state veterinary community.

Please arrive early and show your support for Dr. Ferrell, her fellow spay/neuter clinic vets, and the dedicated animal welfare advocates who worked so hard to raise the funds to operate the clinics.

 

http://www.leftinalabama.com/diary/11162/greedy-vets-club-urges-state-board-to-ignore-judges-opinion-in-spayneuter-clinic-case

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  1. V A Nichols / Jan 12 2015 6:07 PM

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