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Veterinarian commits suicide after attacks by cat rescuer

Dr. Shirley Koshi with Augustus

A Bronx veterinarian ended her life after a lawsuit, online attacks and a protest against her clinic by a cat rescuer allegedly drove the veterinarian “over the edge.”

Dr. Shirley Koshi, 55, owner of Gentle Hands veterinary clinic, took in a sick cat, nursing him back to health and caring for him. A good Samaritan had found him in Wallenberg Park in the Bronx last fall and brought him to the clinic.

When Gwen Jurmark found out about Karl, the cat she had been feeding in the park, she wanted the cat back.

Court documents quote Koshi, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine for over 33 years, as saying “Ms. Gwen Jurmark appeared on the scene weeks after the cat improved saying this was her cat that she ‘keeps’ along with many others at Wallenberg park.”

Koshi refused to hand over the black-and-white cat, saying “Gwen Jurmark rescues cats … then drops them off in parks instead of finding homes for them.”

In October, Jurmark filed a lawsuit to get Karl back. Jurmark also held a protest outside Gentle Hands clinic, which got the effect she wanted: the clinic lost business.

Koshi’s lawyer, John Sarcone, stated “she was being harassed and vilified by various individuals, including the person who filed the complaint.”

According to clinic technician Will Page, between Koshi’s financial difficulties and the lawsuit, the veterinarian seemed depressed. When she did not show up for work on February 16, Page tried calling Koshi at home. Koshi’s phone was answered by the police. They told Page she was dead.

Koshi died of an apparent overdose. She left a suicide note, thanking her employees for their service. Her funeral was held on February 22, 2014.

After the veterinarian's death, Jurmark took back Karl.

An online petition to hold those accountable for the suicide of Dr. Shirley Koshi has received more than 2,900 signatures.

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