Showing posts with label negligence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label negligence. Show all posts

Saturday 24 February 2024

Marlin's police chief, city manager and animal control officer accused of animal cruelty

NEWS AND COMMENT/OPINION: In Marlin, Texas, USA, the police chief, city manager and animal control oversee a dog shelter (dog pound). And within that dog pound there were dogs that were starving and living in filth and on the verge of death. Many had died. It was a vision of Armageddon in the dog shelter world.

Marlin's police chief, city manager and animal control officer accused of animal cruelty
Starving dog at Marlin's dog pound. Image: KWTX.

This appears to have been a complete failure by the city officials in caring for shelter dogs. It's the kind of failure which would normally result in arrests and prosecutions of the administrators of the shelter. 

But, as we know, when the authorities are the alleged perpetrators of animal abuse they are protected because they close ranks and the law is not applied equally. The old adage that everyone is equal under the law is simply a false concept.

In this instance, Marlin's mayor promised accountability but has so far failed to deliver according to Nathan Winograd in his email to me.

There's been a promised investigation by the Falls County Sheriff's Office which has not materialised. Sheriff Joe Lopez of that office said that dogs were not his priority! Yes, we understand that anywhere on the planet, for the police, dogs are not a priority and neither are cats.

The police are invariably engaged in speciesism by which I mean they prioritize humans over companion animals.

As a consequence of this failure of the authorities to act, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has become involved and he is reviewing the case. He told local news reporters that "the Marlin Animal Shelter investigation is now one of his top priorities."

The residents in the area are becoming restless and irritated by the lack of action. They are protesting according to local news reports (which is why the Governor is involved 🙄). They want accountability. A local news station reports that multiple dogs were found dead. They must've starved to death.

Around 40 peaceful protesters are demanding change. They've been protesting in Moody, Temple and Thornton to demand that Marlin's city manager, animal control officer and the police chief be arrested for animal cruelty under the law. They want prosecutions and they want accountability.

The mayor, Susan Byrd, said, "As a proponent of dog rescues we are all working to cooperate with the investigation by the Falls County Sheriff's Office. Upon completion of the investigation, the City of Marlin will do our best to ensure the responsible parties are all held accountable."

It would seem to me that she is in charge and therefore she should also be accountable 🤢. The local newsgathering station that I referred to here, KWTX, said that they tried calling the Marlin Police Chief multiple times for his comment but nothing was forthcoming.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Tuesday 23 May 2023

New York City woman is suing her veterinarian for $3 million for 'murdering' her cat. Discuss.

This is a highly unusual story. It is extremely rare (unique?) to succeed when suing your veterinarian for "murder". What she means, I suspect, is that she is suing her veterinarian for malpractice. For being negligent. Making a mistake. She wants $3 million in compensation. That's an awful lot and she won't get it. And I also believe that she will not win the case and I'll tell you why.

Misia. Photo: Alina. It looks like she was a former TNR stray cat.

Misia was a 15-year-old tuxedo cat that her owner, Alina Kedzierska, rescued. They had a great relationship. But in June 2020 Misia, was found on the floor next to her bed in a "strange position". She couldn't move and Alina rushed her to the local animal hospital which is the Animal Medical Center (AMC) on E. 67th St.

Her cat was seen by a veterinarian who had been at the clinic since 2019. Her name is Lauren Saunders. She is a senior veterinarian there. She diagnosed a feline stroke and said that Misia had to be euthanised. Alina reluctantly agreed.

She must have discussed the matter with another veterinarian afterwards who said that it is possible to treat a feline stroke with medication: anticoagulant therapy. In which case she would have been alive today Alina claims.

The hospital made another mistake (or was it?) when they cremated Misia without Alina's consent as I understand it. She wanted an autopsy done but it didn't happen. They also lost Misia's body for a while and ignored Alina's request for a necropsy (autopsy).

So, there are two weaknesses as I see it with this claim. Firstly, it does seem pretty clear that the veterinarian did make a mistake but that's going to be challenged. The question is, was this the kind of mistake that a reasonable veterinarian could make? Veterinarians are not robots. They make mistakes. Courts have to factor that into their decisions. If a veterinarian makes a reasonable mistake, you can't successfully sue them for compensation.

The question is would a reasonably competent veterinarian have made the same decision under the same circumstances? If the answer is yes then there is no negligence.

There has to be quite a lot of leeway in a negligence claim against medical professional because you can't expect them to be perfect. And Misia was 15 years old. It may be the case that she wouldn't have been greatly benefited by medication and treatment for a stroke.

I'm not deliberately painting a negative picture but a realistic one. Another issue is that a domestic cat is not worth $3 million even when you factor in the emotional loss. I have said in the past that under the circumstances if a claim is successful, the owner should receive a minimum sum in compensation to take into account emotional distress which is fixed under statute i.e. federal or local law. That sum could be $10,000. It would reflect the loss of a family member as important to the owner as a child or relative.

Owners of cats and dogs poisoned to death by commercially prepared foods should receive an automatic $10,000 payment in compensation.

But at the moment courts rarely include compensation for emotional distress. So, she has a mountain to climb to win the case and to win that kind of compensation which, in truth, won't actually happen.

There is perhaps one last point to make. When you are with a veterinarian and they say that in their opinion your cat has to be euthanised because of XYZ, it might be useful to take a deep breath and tell them that you are going to seek a second opinion. 

Agreeing to euthanasia is going to be a final decision which cannot be reversed. I think under the pressure of being with a veterinarian and your cat being seriously ill, you need to take a backward step and give yourself a little bit of time to reflect on what is going on in order to come to the right decision.

I am grateful to the New York Post for the story.

Wednesday 20 May 2015

UAE's destructive fascination with exotic animals

Rich arabs in the UAE tend to be fascinated with possessing exotic animals and a favourite is the cheetah. Why the cheetah? Because it is quite a shy, retiring large wild cat species which is fairly easy to handle and which has been employed for centuries to go hunting with their human 'master'.

The big problem is the rich arabs of the UAE circumvent regulations and treaties such as CITES to smuggle these animals into their country to populate their private zoos whereupon, through gross ignorance and a lack of sensitivity, they gradually starve the animal to death via neurological disorders. Some UAE residents haven't a clue how to care for a large cat. It will please and amuse them for a while and then it will die at which point, I suppose, they smuggle in another. They are disposable, you know, even if they are endangered.

Only this month a post-mortem on a cheetah revealed carpet in it stomach. It must have been so hungry it ate carpet.

These arrogant, exotic cat owners don't kill their 'pets' deliberately. God forbid. They kill through ignorance. The buyers of these animals act on a whim. It shows. No doubt they like the status of possessing an exotic wild cat. It is pathetic and sad.

And we have to criticise the people who are meant to enforce CITES. This treaty is meant to stop illegal trade in wild species but it has to be enforced if it is to be useful. Money circumvents enforcement.

Cheetahs and other large wild cat species are in the UAE for the sole purpose of entertaining the rich with connections.

There are no laws in UAE regulating private zoos. There should be. The rich arabs of UAE are contributing to the extinction of wild cat species in the wild. Something must be done. People in authority need to take steps. They need to take responsibility. They are not concerned. They are too involved with how to spend their petro-dollars.

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