Orlando veterinarian investigated after dog abuse caught on video
Updated On: Jun 29 2013 12:08:23 AM EDT
Allegations of dog abuse at an Orlando animal hospital have now resulted in two state agencies investigating after the clinic's manager was caught slamming a dog against a wall at an Orlando emergency animal hospital.
The woman seen slamming the small dog against a wall -- at least four times -- is the manager at the Emergency Pet Hospital on White Road in Orlando, said Veterinarian Dr. Mohammad Hassan.
The cellphone video lasts 32 seconds and was posted on YouTube by a woman who received it from people who worked at the hospital.
After the story aired, Local 6 heard from several former employees who claim the quit because of conditions inside the clinic, and each allege having seen the manager abuse other animals.
Haley Smith recalled one instance and said, "I just heard screaming and barking and I ran into the room that she was in and basically what I saw was her punching the dog directly in the chest cavity."
Another former employee who asked to remain anonymous said, "She started cursing at the dog and hitting it in the head, on the shoulder area, yanking the leash and it was a large dog -- it was a Golden Retriever -- so she was being excessive. Very excessive. Abusive."
Dr. Hassan said none of the other allegations about the clinic manager are true.
"Absolutely not true because if that happened, they would have [brought] it to my attention right away. If it's happened why didn't you come forward?"
But Smith and other former workers said they were afraid to come forward.
Smith said, "I didn't feel like I could do anything about it because I was terrified. When you see people hurting an animal like that, what do you think they're going to do to you?"
The orginal, who also asked to remain anonymous, calls what is seen on the video "abuse" and said "it's horrendous."
"There's right and wrong, and you just don't do it," said the tipster. "There are proper ways to handle things. This poor dog doesn't have a voice. This poor dog couldn't go and tell his owner that he was being mistreated."
On the video, the dog yelps and has a cone around its head, indicating it may have recently underwent surgery. The manager wrestles with the dog's tiny collar and when the dog appears uncooperative.
"I was very upset when I saw the video," said Hassan. "It does look very bad because the video was altered and trimmed."
Hassan said what we don't see on the short video clip is what happened in the 10 minutes before the manager lost her patience. He said the dog bit several workers, was uncontrollable and his manager made several different attempts to handle the dog.
When asked if there is a better way to take care of that dog, Hassan said, "There's always a better way."
As far as this being a case of animal abuse, Hassan does not agree.
"If you see the video as-is, I'm sure it can be considered animal abuse," said Hassan. "If you see the whole video, you're going to realize what happened there happens everywhere all the time."
Still, Local 6 learned the Florida Department of Professional Regulation is looking into the allegations and the video after Local 6's story made its way to Tallahassee. The State Attorney's office is also considering whether or not to file criminal charges against the doctor.
Clinic staff told Local 6 the clinic manager was fired on Friday as a result of the Local 6 story airing. That news came as threats were called into the clinic all day Friday.
Hassan said the video is over a year and a half old and believes whoever leaked it has a grudge against him because they were fired.
It's unclear who owns the dog or if it was injured in the attack, but Hassan asserts it was not.