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Update on Phoenix Veterinarian Charged with Abusing Chihuahua

As often happens, there is more information on the case of the Phoenix veterinarian, Joshua Winston. There are also two sides to this story. If...

Joy  |  Jun 18th 2007


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As often happens, there is more information on the case of the Phoenix veterinarian, Joshua Winston. There are also two sides to this story. If Winston is not guilty of this charge then we need to know that. Thanks to Waystone for barking in this information from Craigslist.

Here is a link to the original blog post:
Phoenix Veterinarian Charged With Abusing Chihuahua

Dr. Joshua Winston & Bella – the REAL story

Date: 2007-06-14, 1:00PM MST

The following was received by representatives of the SCW Canine Companions Club from Diana Krause, who is a medical doctor (Human, not animal) who also is involved in the Cocker rescue program. We learned of Diana when *** went to her about the cocker spaniel the posse found about 3 days ago. She mentions that Dr Winston had delivered Bella about a year ago. What she did not mention was that the mother dog was herself a rescue dog and very hard to control. The following is offered for your consideration.

Subject: What really happened re Dr. Winston and Bella, the Chihuahua

I want the rescue community to know the whole story, the real story about Josh Winston (JW) and Bella, the little Chihuahua, whom he delivered by C-section about a year ago. I have spoken to him at length; as most of you know, we have become great friends during the 8 years I have known him. This is his account to me, given Monday and every day since.

Bella was dropped off at the office to be spayed. Upon his arrival, JW was immediately told by his staff that she was there and was frantic in her crate. His techs told him they did not wish to handle this dog, she was too wild. Sherri, the groomer in his office, was called to assist in getting Bella from her cage, because she had something of a relationship with Bella, having trimmed her nails a few times. Sherri and JW approached her crate.

When Sherri and JW went to see the dog, and she was screaming and snapping and backed up against the back of the cage. He was talking to her quietly, pretty doggie, pretty doggie, nice doggie, offering the back of his hand for sniffing, eventually petting her on the head, scooting her toward the front of the crate, lifted her with one hand under her belly, the other under her butt and held her gently close to him. It was working and she was doing fine… until he placed her on the table, where she once again began snapping, flailing about, screaming and doing her best to bite.

JW wanted to place a muzzle on her to give her injections so he could begin anesthesia and get the surgery underway. Two techs, Jamie and Linda, were helping him. Jamie is a new vet tech, only working about 8-9 months. They had a soft tie muzzle, but the dog would not allow it, continuing to flail, scream and try to bite. JW held the dog by the scruff of the neck, with his fingers extending around her head, under her jaw, so she wouldn’t get hurt.

Meanwhile, she is still flailing and screaming and trying to bite, urine is flying everywhere, feces flying everywhere … you all get the picture, we’ve all seen that.

NORMAL HUMANE RESTRAINT protocol is to hold the dog as JW was holding her while, with the fingers of the other hand fully extended and using the pads of those fingers, to gently and quickly tap the dog’s nose and/or forehead to distract it away from it’s frenzy. You can also “flick” the dog –gently, but enough to get it’s attention — on the nose. The goal here is to give you a few seconds of stillness to quickly slip the muzzle on. After giving her a couple of taps on the nose and forehead, JW did this flicking maneuver once, and that was the one that worked. In this way, an oversized muzzle was placed on her face.

At that moment — this whole struggle took place in about “25 seconds” — he and the techs saw that her eye had popped out of the socket and was on her cheek. He quickly gave her the injection, had Linda clean the eye and surrounding area; he intubated the doggie and while the anesthesia tubing — already prepared for her intended spay — was attached, he called the owner.

He told the owner exactly what happened and, because this was now a different procedure than what the signed consent form was for, he asked and obtained her permission to treat the eye. The owner told him to do whatever he needed to, she had an appointment to keep somewhere. He promised to call her when he was done. He replaced the eye, was able to get the lid sutured closed over the globe, and knowing there was likely some swelling behind the eye, called the specialty ophthalmology practice and asked to speak to whichever eye vet was free.

I did not recognize the name of the eye vet, so sorry, don’t recall it now, but that Dr. advised JW that, in her opinion, the eye was fine since the lids were able to be closed. “Fine” here meaning that the surgical replacement was properly done, not that it was 100% certain that vision would be restored; that’s a wait-and-see, once the eye is dislocated from the socket.

JW then noticed that Jamie, his newest and youngest tech, was nowhere to be found. Linda told him she’d left the room because she was upset. He said I don’t blame her, it’s an upsetting thing to see, even for an experienced person. JW told me that Jamie is someone who is very sensitive (his words) and that, for example, if a dog is brought in who was hit by a car, and the dog’s in pain, and you touch the dog to examine it, and the dog screams … then Jamie screams, too, cringes and runs out of the room.

JW called the owner, advised her to take the doggie to an ophthalmology vet specialist after she picked Bella up from his office that day. then he began the rest of his office day.

Jamie had in fact left to call the sheriff and alleged that JW hit the dog repeatedly and dislodged it’s eye. Sheriff’s deputies came to the office and that’s how JW learned about the complaint. Linda was interviewed by the deputy and she described the tapping of the dog’s nose and head as well as the flick on the nose. So, the sheriff’s deputies treated Linda’s statements are corroborating Jamie’s.

I think by now most of you have done some research and have learned that having the eye globe pop put of it’s socket is an unfortunate, but not rare, occurrence in the setting of normal humane restraint protocols of hysterical dogs. It is more common in breeds with bulging eyes, such as ShihTzus, Llasas and Pugs, but it CAN happen to any dog, whose blood pressure rises high enough. It is well described in canine ophthalmic literature. In other words, JW did nothing wrong!

Now to address the alleged $80 Rabies shot not given to a Mastiff, but charged to the owner; he doesn’t have any clue what that’s about, doesn’t remember the dog, the incident, nothing about that story is familiar to him.

But I know and most of you know that sometimes, a dog just will not allow an injection and in those cases, you DO waste the vaccine down the drain. That’s what JW does and then he advise the owner that the vaccine was NOT given, that their pet is at this point unvaccinated and to retry another day. The owner is never charged. His best guess is that the owner was charged $80 for some service that was given that the owner didn’t understand. Or, that the front desk made an error of some sort. He does not know of any vaccine that is set at $80.

Jamie and another employee, one of her friends, no longer work there. He did not even fire them, would not have, but they just abandoned their jobs. He is now in dire need of not only our support — our very vocal support — but he also a couple of office employees. Trained or not, he at least needs someone to answer the phones.

If you or anyone you know can work for him for a few weeks, please do! He cannot operate his practice without adequate help.

I urge all of you who know him to recall all he has done for us and stand behind him; let him and the media know you support him.

As a result of this brouhaha, he is now suffering incredible grief, fear and worry that his reputation, his practice and his livelihood will be forever ruined. This is so wrong!

Yesterday, I spoke to Carey Pena from Channel three news; she has told me that she is planning to interview JW on camera at his office on Thursday AM. She would like me to say words of support and faith which I of course will do. As many of you as can make and would like to be there are welcome, too and Carey would like me to give her an approximate head count. Please come stand with him and email me to let me know you’ll be there; Carey and other media will want to know which rescues will have representatives there. I know those of you who know him are 1000% behind him.

Thank you all.