Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of livestock resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.
I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.
I accept as a lifelong obligation the continued improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.
AVMA House of Delegates
Suddenly one day, comes the realization 'they' need us! It's not always the best of times. It can happen very suddenly or come on slowly and often almost imperceptibly. Often we are not certain what is happening, yet we all agree on one thing--we need help so we can help them!
At times like that, we turn to the only other person in the world who we feel is 'qualified' to provide that help. We entrust them with the very lives of our beloved companions. We charge them with the responsibility to humanely care for and treat the illnesses and injuries suffered by the very source of our own comfort--our beloved animal companions! We place our undying trust and confidence in their abilities to understand, cherish and hold sacred the love we share with our pet; and with all animals that inhabit this earth with us!
Do we expect too much of those who have taken the "Veterinarian's Oath"? Do we ask too much of them and assume more than what they are truly capable of when we ask them to honor their oath to "protect our pet's health" and "relieve our pet's suffering"? We think not! For if they are not able to provide this for our beloved pets, they have no right even taking that oath and presuming to endow themselves with the coveted title, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine!
As in all professions, there are the good, the bad, and the UGLY! The 'good' we praise to the heavens and are forever grateful for their dedication, commitment, devotion, hunger for knowledge, tenderness, caring, dignity, and compassion!
The 'bad', we can only hope will continue to do all they can to improve upon the attributes they may have, excel in their profession, gain from practicing dignity, compassion, commitment and responsibility in all things and eventually become worthy of the oath they are entrusted to live up to.
Unfortunately, there is no hope of any of the above for the 'UGLY' nor is there any hope for those they are charged with healing! They elude us completely as they hide behind the trappings of their eye-catching business signs, fancy business cards, professional white coats, offices and clinics erected in the best of neighborhoods with the intent to blend in with every other business in the area to the unsuspecting pet lover! And, no less important are the numerous advertising tools they implement touting their 'reduced' rates for treatment, free vaccination days, discount spay/neuter clinics, sale of 'veterinarian approved' pet foods, grooming products, colorful leashes, harnesses, and collars! A woe to the unsuspecting pet owner who falls for the age-old "office" bird or cat in the lobby! This is nothing more than a much coveted tool to convince the public that 'this' veterinarian is a true animal lover! As is often said about the neighborhood pet store-- Do NOT be fooled by that "Doggie in the Window!"
The 'UGLY' among these professional 'pretenders' have much dirty laundry to hide, stains which can never be eradicated from the human mind suffering from grief, and ever increasing balances in their bank accounts! They offer "medicine show" care to our beloved companion pets in the form of newly discovered treatment methods, holistic medicine, herbal medicine, innovative surgeries--in other words--HOUDINI MEDICINE!! Or, shall we clarify that more by calling it "WHODUNIT" medicine? They are not beneath defrauding the elderly who so trustingly bring little "Fi-Fi" in for regular health maintenance care, never to know that little "Fi-Fi" simply gets shoved into a cage in the back room with nary a second glance and ceremoniously produced at the given time with a monumental bill for "services rendered" pinned to her little beaded collar, none of which have ever been administered! How do any of us know what goes on in the dark caverns of those back rooms? After all, it is 'restricted territory'--NOT open to the public!
This segment of "Our World of Animals" is new and has been instituted for the purpose of educating every pet owner to the dangers, deceptions, ineptitude, inabilities, cruelties and rampant neglect practiced by the "UGLY" within the Veterinary profession! Do not doubt they ARE dangerous, they DO lie, they ARE inept, and ARE NOT capable. They ARE incredibly cruel and inhumane as they ABSOLUTELY neglect those we hold so dear to our hearts and whom we have entrusted to their care!
For many who are childless, these are "babies"! For those who are alone with no one else in the world, they are " best friends and companions"! For those in need of comfort and solace, they are "confessors, listeners, never judging, always understanding, never condemning, true to us in all things"!
We humans educate ourselves about the physicians we choose to treat ourselves, our children, and other members of our families. We go to great lengths to learn the educations, backgrounds and reputations of those 'human' medical practitioners. Why then, do we humans NOT educate ourselves and take the same precautions when selecting 'animal' medical practitioners? There are no excuses in the world for not doing so! As time passes, this site will endeavor to provide everyone who visits with a directory of not only 'highly recommended' , but 'personally TESTED' veterinary offices, clinics and animal hospitals. This will take much time, but it is the ultimate goal we have set out to achieve.
If we remain true to our commitment and responsibility to those who provide us with such unconditional love, it is our obligation to see that they receive the best medical care and treatment available. As you will soon learn, many 'victims' of Veterinary Abuse and Neglect have already sacrificed their lives to the "UGLY" disgraces of the veterinary profession! Must we offer them up as even more 'sacrifices' before we learn the lesson that WE and ONLY WE are charged with the duty to see that our beloved companion animals receive the care, treatment, compassion and empathy they so richly deserve? It is our goal to see that these 'ghouls' are forever eradicated from the practice of veterinary medicine and ensure that stiffer requirements are imposed upon them and laws passed to prohibit them from furthering the suffering of those so dear to our hearts and so vital to our existence!
We cannot stress strongly enough that there is only one way to accomplish this goal: EDUCATE, EDUCATE, EDUCATE !!! Yourselves, your family members, your children, your neighbors, your friends! Stop at nothing and no one! Attack them relentlessly and defend the very existence of your beloved pet, just as they would defend your very existence!
Now take your first steps into the realm of Veterinary Abuse and Neglect and learn your lessons well! Pay close attention, heed the warning signs, listen to the grief, and the hidden and deceitful excuses. It is not fun. It is not pleasant. It is not entertaining. No matter--YOU 'MUST' DO IT!!!
Kalamazoo Veterinarian Charged in State Case
September 13, 2000
BY MIKE TYREE
State authorities have accused a longtime Kalamazoo veterinarian of abusing and neglecting animals, part of a series of charges sparked by complaints from ex-employees and animal owners.
Steven Ginsberg, a doctor of veterinary medicine who practices at Crestview Animal Hospital, 6044 Gull, faces possible reprimand and suspension or loss of his license to practice, based on the outcome of a five-count complaint filed by the state attorney general.
Ginsberg, a vet here for more than 30 years, has until Sept. 25 to respond to the state allegations. If he fails to do so, he would be subject to sanctions by state licensing officials.
Ginsberg did not respond to a Kalamazoo Gazette reporter's message left at his office on Tuesday.
Last fall, a former employee accused Ginsberg of punching a severely wounded dog at his clinic. A pet owner sued Ginsberg after his dog strangled in a cage while in the vet's kennel, and other former employees and pet owners added complaints.
"We should not permit animal abuse from any human, whether they have a license hanging on the wall or not," said Lisa Tabor, a former Crestview Animal Hospital employee.
Ginsberg last year told the Gazette he hit a dog in the chest with an open hand while trying to force the animal to lie down. He termed the strangulation death of another dog "a terrible accident" but denied abusing or neglecting animals.
He also blamed Tabor for the state investigation, saying she was upset he fired her after a week on the job.
The incidents prompted a two-tiered investigation, with state officials probing complaints geared toward Ginsberg's license and Kalamazoo County sheriff's deputies reviewing possible criminal violations.
Sheriff's investigators expect to forward their case to the county prosecutor's office soon, Detective Sgt. Rick Green said.
The state combined seven separate complaints into the charges against Ginsberg, which include:
Allegedly allowing unlicensed personnel to treat animals; failing to maintain clinic hygiene, including failing to sterilize dental instruments and syringes after use; using "super glue" during cat declawing procedures; dispensing expired drugs and medication to animals; abusing and neglecting animals; and failing to timely euthanize some animals.
"(The complaint) is usually followed by an informal settlement conference," said Howard Marderosian, assistant attorney general, Health Professionals Division. "It's an opportunity for the parties to get together to see if the case can be settled."
If a settlement isn't reached, an administrative law judge could be called upon to decide the case.
Marderosian declined comment when asked whether the charges indicate serious problems with Ginsberg's practice, or if they were relatively minor matters that should not scare off his customers.
"Someone taking their pet there should take a look at the allegations and come to their own conclusions," he said.
TYREE can be reached at 616-388-8413
I began working on August 16, 1999 as a vet assistant at Crestview Animal Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This was a one doctor practice. My first week working there, two other technicians told me the doctor "socks" and "hits" dogs and cats he is caring for. They told me I will see a lot if I work there.
SIGNS OF A PROBLEM
During the first and second weeks of working there I witnessed Steven Ginsberg, DVM yelling and swearing at dogs that whined or barked. These were dogs that were being boarded or staying there for routine visits. From August 23 to August 27, I observed a dog go without water day and night. He would tip his water bowl as soon as we placed it in the kennel for him. I asked the other technician for a spill proof bowl and I was told the doctor does not have these available for the dogs that do this. Throughout the day we did our best to make sure he had water, however at night this was not possible. I asked the doctor if there was something we could do but I was told that the dog was fine and that the dog deserved it (going without water) for being so hyper.
Over the long Labor Day holiday, a client's dog was boarded at the clinic. This was a German Shepherd that required a large kennel, however all were occupied by other dogs so the German Shepherd was kept in a smaller cage. She could not fully raise her head because the cage was not large enough.
UNABLE TO CONTROL TEMPER
Many times Dr. Ginsberg would get very angry and throw things (scissors, nail clippers, pencils) during surgical procedures and also routine procedures. He used irreverent language when addressing the other technicians and myself, just as he did with his patients. He did not use new, sterile packs for each surgery. He would use the same pack for several routine spay/neuter surgeries in a row. When I asked him to train me how to restrain an upset cat while doing procedures, he told me it was common sense and to "just hurt them to teach them a lesson."
I called the Kalamazoo Humane Society the second week I worked there to notify them of the conditions described above.
- BROKEN SPINE
At the end of my second week, on August 31, 1999, a man brought in a dog that had been hit by a car. Her name was Lucy and she had a broken spine. The doctor said the options were either expensive back surgery with no promises or to euthanize her. Lucy's owner decided it would be in her best interest to have her put down. He said his good-byes to Lucy and paid for the services and left. Dr. Ginsberg did not euthanize Lucy that day despite that being what Lucy's owner was lead to believe would be done for his pet. I cannot say for sure why the doctor did not euthanize her and it has been a mystery to many individuals. I was told by another technician this was due to the fact that the doctor had already left for the day to go golfing, did not want to make the extra trip back to the clinic to do the procedure (as requested by her owner) and that he was waiting until he came back the following morning to euthanize her. I believe he held her life in limbo while he decided whether or not he wanted to try the back surgery himself.
Lucy's owner wanted an explanation as to why she was not euthanized after his request. I asked the doctor myself and he said that he was going to try and do Lucy's back surgery. He did not own this dog; yet he, a veterinarian who agreed to euthanize her, never did as her owner requested and paid for.
FALLS OUT OF CAGE
The following day, September 1, was my day off. On September 2, I arrived at work and found Lucy had fallen from her cage. She was laying on the floor in front of the lab door that I was trying to enter through. The other technician rushed in behind me wondering who was crying. I told her it was Lucy. We discovered that her cage was not latched correctly the night before and she had been out all night by herself. Urine was pooled in areas throughout the clinic so I believe she was out of her cage most of the night. She was unable to walk so I believe she dragged herself around. Together we tried to move her but she cried out from pain. We left her where she lay until the doctor arrived so he could help us move her. We were apprehensive of any movement causing her further pain and I did not know how to properly move a dog with a broken back without possibly causing more injury to her. The other technician set up for the euthanasia procedure assuming the doctor would be doing this
as soon as he arrived.
SLUGGED & DROPPED FOR CRYING
When Dr. Ginsberg arrived he yelled because she was not in her cage. He went to pick her up to move her and she cried out in pain. He swung his arm and with his hand open, using his palm, he slugged her hard on her chest. She fell to her side. I left the clinic on my lunch hour and went to a pay phone to call the Kalamazoo Humane Society. To my knowledge nobody from the clinic knew that I had done this. When I returned to the clinic the other technician told me that the previous day (which had been my day off) the doctor had "dropped Lucy on the cement floor" while carrying her to the cage. According to the other technician he had become angry with her because she was crying (from the pain the movement was causing) and he dropped her on purpose and then yelled at a technician to put her away.
Although I did not want to remain working in that type of environment, I realized I needed to be there as long as possible to protect Lucy. The Kalamazoo Humane Society also felt this was necessary. There was concern on both my part and the Humane Society's that Lucy would be hit again if the doctor became angry with her yet another time.
LEFT SPINAL INJURY CARE TO TECHNICIANS
The day Lucy came in with her injuries the other technicians and I did all we could to help Lucy until the doctor arrived at the clinic to see her. However, in the days to follow, Dr. Ginsberg allowed Lucy to lay painfully in a kennel for one week and other than taking an X-ray, to my knowledge, he did not observe her nor did he take any further measures to make her comfortable or to prevent further complications. Through personal observation and also from what the other technicians relayed to me, Lucy was given only one pain injection and that was at the time of her arrival following her accident on August 31. Her medical records indicate only one injection was administered as well. She was in severe pain from any type of movement. Anything that was done to help her and to make her feel more comfortable was done only by myself or the other technicians. This was our job and I wanted to do everything I could. However, there are medical procedures that none of the technicians are trained to do and by State law cannot do, yet Dr. Ginsberg could!
I felt I had the responsibility to watch over her because the other technician told me the doctor never checks on the animals at night and it is up to "us girls" to do so. I was not asked by the doctor to come in after hours to care for Lucy, as were no other technicians. Several times when I arrived to check on her in the evening hours, she was laying in her feces and urine. This was because she had no bladder control and to the best of my knowledge was not having her bladder expressed every 2-3 hours as I later learned she should have. On September 3, he asked me upon arriving at the clinic for work how the animals were. I was happy to tell him that Lucy had eaten an entire can of food and he said to me, "Who is Lucy?"
On September 4, I left a letter for the doctor asking him not to hit animals as long as I was working for him. Three days later he "let me go" and indicated it was for monetary reasons.
REMOVED FROM CLINIC
Lucy's owner took her out of the clinic on September 14, immediately after he was made aware of what his dog had gone through. She was treated and cared for by another veterinarian. With her owner's permission, I took her to my home and legally adopted her as Lucy required around the clock care and attention. I offered to do this for her owner as I wanted to try and rehabilitate Lucy. I was out of work so I could be home with her more than he was able to be. Her owner agreed that this would be in her best interest.
She still did not have control of her bladder and as the days passed it did not improve. After two other exams, consultations from two other vets and also a verbal consultation with a specialist at Michigan State University, I was told there was not a medical cure that would allow her to regain control of her bladder. This would most likely remain a lifetime condition for her. Her quality of life would be marginal, since it was understood that she would also experience urinary tract infections on a regular basis.
Remarkably she was running with me just two weeks after I began caring for her. However, with support from her new doctor, my family and friends, the Kalamazoo Humane Society, and most importantly in all fairness to Lucy, her previous owner and I chose to have her put down. As she was euthanized on October 5, 1999, I made a promise to her that I would speak out for her and do everything I could to get the justice that she deserved. Lucy was a brave victim who suffered an unnecessarily traumatic experience that hopefully will open the door for many other unknown victims of veterinary cruelty.
IN FILING CHARGES
I tried to file an animal cruelty charge with the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Department, but I was told twice that this had to be done through Kalamazoo County Animal Control. I called there and the Director told me I was just a three week old employee and Steven Ginsberg was a doctor with a degree and had never had any other past complaints against him to substantiate mine. She did not take me seriously. I immediately went forward with a complaint because it was my job to do so as a professional technician and a compassionate human. I was appalled that our local authorities, trained to take such allegations seriously, would not do so until I persuaded more witnesses to come forward.
While I was still an employee at Crestview Animal Hospital, I searched for ex-employees' telephone numbers. I contacted several and know for a fact that some of those employees and past clients have filed allegations with the Michigan Bureau of Health Services, Kalamazoo Sheriff's Department and the Kalamazoo Humane Society concerning other abuse and neglect incidents involving Dr. Steven Ginsberg. This was done prior to an article published by the Kalamazoo Gazette on November 28, 1999 in which Steven Ginsberg admitted to striking the Springer Spaniel (Lucy) in his care as quoted below:
an open hand, I hit him on the side of his chest trying
to get him to lay down," Ginsberg said, adding that the dog
had a broken back, was in pain and was unable lay down to
receive treatment. "I hit him right by the front legs, as soon as
I did, it stopped crying."
I was told more allegations came in after the story was published. It is still important others come forward so that this case does not stall in its tracks.
At this time the Kalamazoo County Prosecuting office is reviewing all allegations filed against Ginsberg.
The Bureau of Health Services - Complaint and Allegation Division for the state of Michigan has completed interviews with the patients and employees who have filed allegations. The case is currently being reviewed by the State Attorney General's office. It is not too late to file a complaint against Steven Ginsberg if you are displeased or disapprove of the services he provided to you and your pet. Every complaint that comes in will strengthen the charges against him. Please go to the Complaint and Allegation Division site, which explains how to file. You could help to remove the license that allows him to further hurt innocent, helpless, injured and suffering animals, as he did Lucy!
Please help Lucy and the others get justice for their pain and suffering and protect other companion animals from Dr. Ginsberg's torture. I believe Lucy may have opened the door for many other victims who have or will suffer at the hands of a man who calls himself a "Doctor of Veterinary Medicine."
To witness abuse of a helpless, suffering and frightened animal is a tormenting circumstance. It is not unlike a pediatrician hitting an unsettled, helpless and frightened child during an office visit. Does anyone find child abuse acceptable? Lucy deserves justice. Please follow the below link carefully to learn what you can do to ensure that she gets it!
Here are some of the stories we will relate to you in the very near future:
Compassion and Caring for your Loss!
A condolence card received less than 24 hours after the loss
of your beloved pet signed by not only every Staff
member of your local Animal Hospital/Clinic,
but signed the DOCTOR(S) also!
Nothing but your own empty, broken heart and tears!
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