Dog owners who drop off their pet at a doggie day care do not expect to return later to be told the news that their dog has died.
But that is what happened this month in Norwood. Three dogs died while at The Pet Spot. Their cause of death is undetermined, even though according to newsnet5 “All three are said to have died from a violent, undetermined illness.”
The Pet Spot, like other doggie day care and boarding kennels across Ohio, does not have to be professionally licensed, and they are not inspected by either the state or county. So when a pet dies there, don't count on the state to run tests; the burden of determining cause of death is up to the pet's owner.
See links for petitions at end of article.
Beth Sheehan knows all too well the pain of losing a pet at the hand of someone entrusted to care for them. She lost her dog Bailey after the golden retriever swallowed a piece of material and the veterinarian did not provide the correct care to save the dog. It was because of Bailey’s death that Sheehan made it her mission to find out all she could about veterinary clinics, to share that information, and to try to change Ohio laws.
What Sheehan found in her research was shocking.
Not just boarding kennels, but also the majority of veterinary clinics in Ohio are never inspected. No one is keeping a watchful eye on the place where you take your beloved dog or cat or ferret. Sheehan discovered that out of approximately 7,500 licensed vets and vet techs in Ohio, only 12 clinics received inspections last year.
The OVMLB does not have a full-time inspector on its payroll. Instead, inspections are handled by the Department of Agriculture. Under law, inspectors must give veterinarian clinics five days notice.
“It would be surprising for Ohioans that have companion animals to know nobody is checking their vets,” Sheenan said. “The mission of the Ohio Veterinary Board is to ensure public trust, consumer protection, and standard of care of veterinary medicine. So how are they accomplishing their mission if they are not going out on inspections?”
On its website, the OVMLB has a compliance inspection form available as a pdf file. The form is a “yes” or “no” checklist. Sheehan believes the form leaves many questions unanswered. “When it asks if there is an x-ray machine, how does a yes or no answer specify if the machine works, and how technicians are trained on it?” She continues “it doesn’t even ask if the sick animals are separated from the well ones.”
Other Ohio agencies, such as the Pharmaceutical and Dental Boards, offer inspections. Veterinary Licensing Boards from other states offer inspections. Restaurants are inspected, as are nursing homes, schools, gas stations and beauty parlors.
So, why then, are Ohioans putting the lives of their pets in the hands of veterinary clinics that rarely, if ever, get inspected for cleanliness, animal care and working equipment?
Sheehan has prepared two petitions to help inform people and help bring about change, Who’s Watching Ohio’s Vets? which asks the OVMLB to institute regular, unannounced, random inspections of veterinary clinics, checking on hygiene, protocols, equipment, and record keeping, and Fund the Pharmacy Board to Investigate Veterinary Hospitals which encourages Ohio legislators to move veterinary hospital inspections from the Vet Board to the Pharmacy Board, with it’s 25 full time inspectors.
For more information, check out the Paws and the Law website.
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