of Press-Telegram Long Beach, CA
about pet care trigger a 'cat fight'
Pets: Flock of
clients alleges that vets did not deliver as advertised
By Joe Segura
about the treatment of pets at All Care Animal Referral Center in Fountain
Valley have been logged with the Orange Country District Attorney's Office.
Several letters, alleging that the pet clinic fails to provide
specialized services as advertised, have been sent to the office's Consumer
Protection Unit over the past couple of years.
Assistant District Attorney Robert Gannon, who heads the
unit, said in a recent interview that the issues are under review
and a decision should be made soon on the merits of the complaints -- and
whether the issues raised should be handled
by the prosecutor's office or by the state veterinary board.
Tim McElroy, the chief financial officer of All Care, declined
to discuss specific cases but said the complaints lack merit because the clinic
handles a large volume of cases and some animals will not survive treatment.
"Statistically, things can happen," he added.
"We have a tremendous volume of cases," he said,
estimating about 35,000 clients per year. "And we have a tremendous number.
A number of animal owners have taken their issues to court, contesting the
cost of treatment at the facility at 18440 Amistad St.
They also allege that their animals have died due to poor
Joanna Patrice complained in a May 1998 letter that the
"Mayo-like clinic" advertised that it offered the highest quality
veterinary care by a staff of specialists. She said she discovered that the
staff is not on the premises, and that some did not have specialized training.
She also complained that her pet cat Rusty was given an unnecessary operation
that led to heart failure and death.
Another pet owner, Mildred Muller, complained that her dog
underwent exploratory surgery of a prostate problem, but allegedly the wrong
samples went to the lab.
Barry and Barbara Hayslett complained that their sheep dog
Alex needed a pacemaker, but the clinic allegedly delayed repeated efforts to
get the device, resulting in the pet's death. And the clinic reportedly charged
the pair $3,500.