Sunday • April 27, 2003
faces loss of his license
When in June 2001, I wrote what
had been going on at Fountain Valley's All Care Animal Referral Center, there
was some doubt from those who saw the complaints as too far-fetched. A newspaper
man who has a publication related to animals told me that the percentage of bad
cases was low compared with the number of animals treated at this hospital.
I was taken aback when he said how many humans suffer from error in their
treatments from their medical helpers. To me that was the rationalization of a
If one human or animal suffers neglect from a caregiver, and we remain silent or
look the other way, it only encourages the culprit. It never helps prevent the
The alleged complaints were against Dr. Robert Lee Rooks, who obtained his
veterinarian license in July 1978.
Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl took a stand by sending a letter of concern to Ellen
O'Connor, chairwoman of the Veterinary Medical Board in Sacramento. The process
began a straightforward action. The California Veterinary Medical Board filed
additional charges of negligence and deceit.
I have read about 22 separate cases of pet owners alleging deceit, overcharges
for services and unnecessary treatments on their animal companions. Some clients
ended up with no companion animal. Several cases have been settled out of court.
I spoke with several of the parties involved. The case against Dr. Rooks is
important. He will face a formal hearing on Monday. It is expected to last
through May. After two years of investigation, it has to be very serious for
state Attorney General Bill Lockyer to file a formal charge to revoke his
license to practice in California and to revoke the hospital's permits.
Many individuals involved in the medical field, when involved in scandals in one
state, often move to another to practice. Readers from outside California must
The state, from documents filed Oct. 25, 2002, seeks to: 1. Revoke or suspend
Dr. Robert Lee Rooks' veterinarian license. 2. Revoke or suspends the permit
issued to All Care Animal Referral Center. 3. Asses a fine not more than $5,000
for each cause for disciplinary action specified in Section 4883, if respondent
is found guilty. 4. Order respondent to pay investigation and enforcement costs.
5. Take such other or further action as the board deems necessary and proper to
protect the public health, safety and welfare.
This column is on behalf of those who are having to deal with
questions of animal negligence in our own communities. The author is the founder
of the H.K. Foundation, a nonprofit organization that operates a permanent
refuge for abused animals in Allendale. Write her at P.O. Box 5112, Vacaville,
95696, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.