We would like to share our recent experience with Humane Society of Huron Valley's (HSHV) clinic and voice some concerns. It's our understanding that a veterinarian of the clinic (who is now a Director) wrote a letter to the Board outlining her concerns about becoming a full-service clinic in order to earn HSHV more profits. All but one staff member signed the letter. In her letter she stated, "It will hurt the animals that come into our care."

At the very least, the vet had the foresight to see what was coming. To prove that she was right, here's our story:

We all have grown to respect and admire Dr. Mary, Dr. Andrea and the staff for their hard work. Last year, our cat had gone into insulin shock and when our regular vet wasn't available, we took him into to HSHV’s clinic, believing we would have to put him down. Come to our surprise, the clinic’s staff was able to save him. My wife and I were overjoyed! To show our ongoing gratitude, we often help to promote the clinic, showcasing their services.

Recently, we thought it would be another routine X-ray for Taro who continued to lose weight despite his modest appetite (up until a few days ago). His blood work was normal just a few weeks prior and we were seeking a possible answer for his weight loss.

Contrary to last fall, the clinic was booked solid with walk-ins. We dropped Taro off in the morning, expecting to pick him up a couple of hours later. The couple of hours turned in to a half-day, and then all day, because the X-ray machine’s developer was malfunctioning. And when they finally got the machine to work, the X-ray didn’t present much help since Taro had stool backed up; hence, another X-ray was needed to help clarify things. In the meantime, I dropped in a few times to check on him.

By 4:00, Taro had been given an enema. When I arrived, he was crying out to me while lying in a cage and covered in fecal matter and vomit.

Shortly after, Dr. Andrea (a Clinic Director) took another X-ray. Since Taro was covered from nearly top to bottom in his own waste, I asked for a towel to carry him to the machine. The Vet Tech, said she would do it and grabbed Taro by the neck, even though he was very frail.

After that X-ray, as I was putting Taro back into his carrier, he was crashing! He was showing signs of a severe third eyelid and could no longer stand. When I pointed this out, I was told not to worry. I was told it was simply stress and that Taro would recover after a good night’s rest.

When I returned home, Taro was moaning and in obvious pain. After giving him sub-Q fluids, I called Dr. Andrea, and she said let him rest and give him some vitamin paste. I gave him some, and he immediately threw up.

Throughout the night, Taro was suffering and kept trying to stand, but he lacked the strength to do so. In spite of not being able to bath him, we stayed close to him all night doing our best to comfort him.

Saturday morning, it was obvious Taro wouldn’t make it, so I called Dr. Andrea about putting Taro to sleep. Before this step could be taken, he began convulsing and finally died a violent death! We were helpless.

We're telling you this story because it demonstrates the infeasibility of the current Board’s position in regard to operating a full-service clinic.

  1. The clinic does not have sufficient functioning equipment. It took four attempts to get a clear X-ray.
  2. There are insufficient facilities to support all walk-in customers. When I was there, I saw several animals lying on blankets on the floor, recovering from surgery.
  3. There is inadequate staffing for a full-service clinic. Taro was left in his own filth and not given any medical treatment. When I arrived early in the day, Dr. Mary (a Clinic Director) had briefly inspected Taro and suggested he be given an IV (since he was dehydrated) and then another blood test. Neither was given!
  4. Further discussion is needed to determine whether making the clinic a profit center is keeping in spirit with the original founders.

We do not necessarily place blame on the clinic employees. They do not have the time, facilities, or staff to carry out the Board’s mandate to become a profit center. We would recommend the Board rethink its position which, though it argues fiscal restraint, is unrealistic given the current state of the clinic.

- David Berger, Ann Arbor, MI