MEMORANDUM OF COMPLAINT
Georgia Board of Veterinarians
237 Coliseum Drive
Macon, GA 31217-3858
May 11, 2011
Dr. Roberta Lena Wrighten, DVM
License # VET008287
Banfield Pet Hospital
1072 Bullsboro Drive
Newnan, Georgia 30265
2006 Bud Davis Road
Newnan, Georgia 30263
RE: Patient Amigo Richardson, deceased:
On May 2, 2011 Dr. Roberta Lena Wrighten, DVM licsence # VET008287 negligence caused the death to my pet Chihuahua dog Amigo I have been devastated by a loss I believe that could have been prevented if Amigo had recieved ADEQUATE emergency care.
I am a senior citizen who lives in a remote area of western Coweta County Georgia, alone. My only source of income is through social security. A man and his wife gave me a place to live in 2007, in exchange for property caretaking services I perform. Prior to that I was homeless. I had lived alone for twelve years after being the primary personal caretakers of my parents who passed in 1994 and 1995. The older I got the more difficult time I had securing a job, so went out on disability, due to a history of a depressive disorder, then last year my disability turned into full social security benefits because I turned age sixty-six, the full retirement age. Their was a big void in my life from so many deaths and losses of those in my immediate family. All my family are deceased are - gone. Amigo was all I had in this world.
One beautiful blue sky fall day back in 2008, I was sitting here on my front porch deep inside this new state park, called Chattahoochee Bend, where my home is located, when out of the blue a little brown dog came smartly prancing up the drive way. I am on a dead end gravel road and it is almost two miles to where the paved road begins. My nearest neighbor is almost two miles away.
I took-in this little stray Chihuahua that someone had either abandoned on this lonely dirt road I live on or it had got lost. I tried for several days to find its owners, but no one ever showed up to claim him. We were two lost souls that had found one another.
For the past three years he grew into a beloved companion and best friend. He was good medicine for my mental, emotional and physical health. He was also a good watch dog, who had excellent hearing, and could warn me of anyone approaching the house in this secluded area of the county I live in. He was more than just a dog to me. He was a best friend and brave little protector. Although, he was not officially certified, he was a service therapy dog. The only medicine I have ever taken for depression that actually worked. I have been treated for depressive illnesses over the past thirty years, since my initial breakdown of 1981, and Amigo was - my healer. No drug, psychiatrist or hospital I was ever treated at healed my depression, but Amigo's presence could and did. I had planned on having Amigo certified as a therapy dog, but could not afford the $200.00 for training. My only income is a monthly social security check. If not for these living arrangments I have made with this family whose property I try and take care of, I would probably be in a nursing home, or worse even some state ran institution. Amigo was my sanity, in this insane world, my medicine.
All this healing love ended for me, about 3:00 AM, on Monday morning of May the 2nd and this new nightmare began. Suddenly, Amigo slept near my feet at near the foot of my bed jumped up and started barking - his way of asking out. He did this occasionally when he heard something outside the house. 99% of the time it was deer, who he loved chasing away with his barking, and then coming right back to his warm bed at my feet. He was my alarm system.
But, this night, it was not deer. It was very dark, as it is down here, and I could not see how to save him from the vicious attack I heard going on. My flashlight battery had run down, so I was bitten in the process of trying to save him. The predator ran off leaving my little baby in a pool of blood. At this point I went into shock along with a pet that was in shock from being attacked by some predator, probably a coyote or feral dog.
I brought him inside and examined his wounds. No major arteries were severed. He had a puncture wound on his belly about the size of a pencil eraser and another puncture wound inside his left rear leg, where his leg joined with his body. Their was also a small indention, but no bleeding on the top of his back apparently from the top fangs of the predator. These wounds should have not killed him.
I wrapped him in towels and since their is no 24 hour emergency vet service in Coweta County and environs, I had to wait till 8:00 AM to carry him to Banfield Animal Hospital at Petsmart in Newnan. His bleeding had stopped. Banfield is where Amigo's doctors were, and we used Banfield for his shots and flea treatments every since he first became my little dog.
Sadly, I believe carrying Amigo to Banfields was the worst mistake I could have ever made. It was a sure fire death sentence for Amigo. If Amigo had been a human being with life threatening injuries, the actions of caring medical ER professionals would have kicked into play. But, the Banfield bunch, acted as if they were on a picnic rather than having the life of some ones precious little pet in their hands. I have since learned that these Head vets with Banfield are like circuit riders, they travel from store to store, with no real ties to their patients or their owners. It's just a cash making racket. The ones I have met don't love animals. They see your pet as a "thing" they can perform a bunch of uneccesary procedures on for a quick buck.
I laid my little dog down on their examining table wrapped in a bloody towel. A vet tech was the first to examine him, not a doctor. She didn't seem too concerned about the life threatening injuries he had, and she didn't muzzle him. I explained to her what had happened and she said the Vet will be right in. Suddenly as she kept poking him, un-muzzled, he lept off the table and nipped her. I heard later she took the day off after being nipped. How silly. It was only a nip from a dying little wounded creature. He bit me also at home before leaving for Banfields, due to his pain and fears. I guess this natural animal instinct, to protect himself by fighting back was grounds for the Banfield bunch to kill him or better still just let him die, and then pull out their needles of death and try to justify destroying him, because "he was too far gone." Well, he wasn't too far gone when I checked him in their "hospital'. Why did Dr. Wrightem DVM, just put him in a cage and let him die?
Finally the Vet came in and gave him a cursory examination, never communicating to me her medical diagnosis or his prognosis. She exited the door and Amigo and I was in the examining room alone for about another fifteen minutes, and I eventually had to stick my head out the door to get someone to come and try and save my pet. They had forgotten us.
Eventually, a second vet tech came back into the room and tried to sell me a $1,200.00 treatment plan, before they would start treating my Amigo.
I explained to this young lady vet tech that I was a retiree living off of social security and I could not pay such a large amount. This vet tech gave me the number of an associate company of Banfields and Petsmart (G.E. Consumer Finance, El Paso Texas)) that does pet treatment financing. She told me to call the number and try and get a loan approved over the telephone for the $1,200.00, so they could treat my dying pet. What if this had been a human being?
Heartbroken, shaking, confused, sick and upset, I wasted another twenty minutes on the telephone punching in credit information from memory, trying to raise the required $1,200.00. Eventually I was turned down for loan approval, as I knew I would be, and had told the vet tech that my credit would not be approved. You see it was all about money, not Amigo.
Much later, as the life was draining from my best friend, vet tech number two came back into the room again with another plan; plan B, if you will, for $349.00. I told her this was also too high for me to pay all at one time. She said how much can you pay today. I told her I could pay $100.00 today and the rest at the first of the month when I got my social security check.
She looked chagrined but agreed, and said they would hold Amigo 24 hours and I could pick him back up then. She said they would keep him up front so they could keep an eye on him. (Why not do some intervention to save his life?) I had put him in his little round foam cushion bed, that I had bought from Petsmart, that he loved so much and had spent the past three years sleeping in. Little did I know it would become his coffin?
Banfied was more interested in getting money out of me, than saving a little life for an old man. Matter fact this is all about money - anyway. If I could have reached in my pocket and plunked down their $1,200.00, Amigo would still be with me today. Of course if they had saved his life, I would have gladly found a way to pay their large bill.
The vet tech told me I could go home. Emotionally sick and upset, broken hearted with grief. I drove the 25 miles back home. In my old truck, it takes me about forty-five minutes. When I arrived home, I had three messages on my answeing machine from Banfield saying "Mr. Richardson, Amigo is "crashing", which I guess is a veterinarian word for "dying".
I was now in tears and a total state of shock and grief. I felt like I had let Amigo down, by carrying him to this place called Banfield to begin with, and then be talked into, while in shock, of leaving him their alone with strangers. These veterinarian employees need some sensitivity training. Amigo experiences separation anxiety when he and I are separated. The shock he was going into was that kind of shock, not loss of blood. Why did they not ask me to sit in the waiting room, until his life threatening crisis was over? But, I put my trust in Banfield, sorry to say.
As I walked into the door for the second time that day at Banfields, the Head Vet, Dr. Wrighten met me. She led me back to their operating room. They had my baby lying on his side on the operating table, with a breathing apparatus over his nose. He still recognized me when I petted his little head, and he rolled his beautiful eyes toward me. At this point I thought he may recover. But, the Vet said he "probably" has swelling in his brain and will die anyway. Even though Amigo never received any x-rays or any other test to prove swelling of the brain. How could she be so sure I wondered? They hadn't made any x-rays. Everything in me, wanted to snatch him up and carry him to another vet for a second opinion. This vet then says we will put you two in a room together, and you can have a little time together why you make up your mind. Looking back, it was almost like - "get on with it - kill him!"
I spent about 15 minutes, with Amigo. Through this whole ordeal, no emergency treatment had been started on him. When they brought him into the little examining room he had a catheter tube bandaged to his right front paw for an IV. They had already made up their mind to kill him before purposing that choice to me. Then vet tech number two came in with some papers for me to sign to have him destroyed. Euthanasia is a euphemism that means "destroy life". I like the word "destroy life" better. It doesn't gloss over killing innocent animal and human life. Banfield is good at destroying animal life from my own experience and what I have been finding on the Internet from other victims, they don't know much about saving lives.
I was standing over my baby their rubbing and kissing his little head, drowning in my own tears. Again, I almost grabbed him up and fled that damned death house. I will have to carry the guilt of not doing just that to my grave I suppose. Banfield had already made up their mind they were going to destroy him, for "humane reasons", which is a joke. Saving his life would have been more humane.
The vet tech said he was already blind from his brain swelling. There is no evidence to support that either. All I could see not being a veterinary professional was that I saw "the light" slowly leaving his little face and eyes, but their was still a flicker of light - life in him, that could have been saved. Out of my mind and anguished with grief and in unbearable sorrow, I signed the euthanasia release form, releasing him from the madness of this cold cruel world. This culture of death has no respect for human life, much less animal life. Modern human beings are good at killing, ignorant of healing. Wonderful at hating, void of true loving. Boy! We sure are good at killing though. I was being pressured to sign their execution record. My name on that document was a coercion of the slickest and sickest kind. It's slick because it clears Banfield of liability. It's sick; because mercy killing is supposed to be humane. It would have been more merciful to have tried to save his life.
I held my little angel dog tenderly, that God dropped on my door steps three years ago out of the blue, who had made my world such a happy place, as this veterinarian administered the two drugs that killed him. I suppose these drugs are the same chemicals that are administered to human beings on death row. One to kill the pain, the other to stop his little beating heart, which was beating just fine when I laid him on Banfields examination table. I would have been better off if Dr. Wrighten DVM had injected me also.
Amigo was my light from my own darkness of depression. As his life left him, my darkness returned. Another part of me died when Amigo left this world. I kissed him on his little head, drowning in my tears as his beautiful little spirit left his funny little body. This veterinarian said it should take me about four or five days to get over it,. Of course this is what they tell them to say in vet school, but this poor lady who plays God, does not understand the depth of the love that Amigo and I had for each other. I will never get over Amigo's death, at least not in this life. We will meet again when this life's journey is over, but I will never ever recover from losing him in such a brutal and heartless way. Only someone who understands that our pets are, bearers of unconditional love, sent from God, would know what I mean.
I am asking that Banfield:
1.) Pay me the $1,200.00 for the loss of my pet, since that was the cost they tried to shake me down to keep him alive, and replace him with another dog just like him, even though they will never be another Amigo. I guess veterinary professionals eventually become jaded to killing pets. It's just all in another days work. Sort of like what the death camp workers of Nazi Germany evolved into - monsters hiding behind smiles.
2.) I have in my hand a Banfield Hospital medical record entitled "examination report" on Amigo that Banfield gave me the day of our visit for emergency medical treatment. All his vital signs were normal. Why did Banfield pressure me into euthanizing him? Since you were not going to make much money off him, was it better to kill him? Or because he nipped one of your vet techs, who was negligent in putting the small muzzle on him. Did all this make you want to kill him?
About a year or so ago, on one of our doctor visits, at this same Petsmart/Banfield location a young male vet tech made a disparaging abusive remark quoting a staff veterinarian about "cutting off my dogs head to make him - better." It was supposed to be some kind of inside joke, but I didn't think it was funny - at all. Yes, I suppose it is easier to kill an animal than waste the time of saving a life, especially when their may be no money you can rake in quickly.
3.) If you can't find me another dog just like Amigo, which you can't, I want you to finance those bio companies that clone farm animals and send them here to my home to the little grave of Amigo's and exhume him and have his DNA remains biological cloned, to give me my Amigo back. Don't say it can't be done. The agriculture industry does it all the time with livestock, such as sheep pigs and cows.
But, who cares? He was only a dumb mutt whose life didn't count for much. Just a dog. You killed Amigo, but you didn't kill Amigo's story. So this effort at telling Amigo's story, in the form of a complaint, as well as my own as his master, is in tribute to his small life. He spent his life trying to protect me and his home, so this is about me respecting my Amigo back. It's a matter of principals not profit for I know that it will not bring Amigo back.
From past experience, I know that filing a complaint against any profession regulated by the state of Georgia or any other state, is like going to the madam of a house of ill repute and complain about catching a disease from one of their working girls. Justice will never be served, at least not in this life, neither for me or Amigo. Governmental regulatory agencies are created to protect its members not the general public.
The first year Amigo and I were together; I carried him to The Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers Georgia, and had a kind monk bless Amigo. This monk said he had heard stories like mine about how Amigo came into my life. He said that he believed these dogs (and other lost pets) were Angels, God sends us when he knows we need them. I knew that Amigo was a Holy Dog of the Mayan Indians of South America. I knew he was on loan from God, I just never imagined a life without him. I thought he would be with me till the end.
I'm am an old man that, found real love in one of God's lesser creatures, a true miracle, and won't be around much longer myself which I am grateful for. I look forward to seeing Amigo again real soon, in a place where the merchants of death cannot touch either one of us.
In the end, all that matters is LOVE.
And, I found total unconditional love, with Amigo.
For this I am Blessed.
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