Changing the Dog Laws

Please ask your friends to join with us to change the law. We also would like you to rate your veterinarian to let others know about him/her - places you can do this are and If you have a problem with a vet - FILE A COMPLAINT WITH THE STATE LICENSING BOARD.  Somehow we need to make them accountable.   We do not want to change ownership status of a pet to guardian, which would create other problems, but would like to create a special class or category that acknowledges the human-animal bond our domestic pets fulfill in our lives as other states have done. We want to get bad vets off the streets and those 'practicing' medicine on your beloved pet to stop practicing and start being accountable.

Please consider that veterinary malpractice is a type of ABUSE.  When a vet experiments outside the normal boundaries of medicine, rushes through a surgery to beat a personal best imposed 'time limit', or just plain is sloppy they need to be held accountable.  While it's pretty obvious it's abuse when someone shoots a dog or tortures it - we must realize a veterinarian is a very unique position to be able to torture or maime or kill animals LEGALLY under Michigan law.  Unless he is found grossly negligent, he'll get a slap on the wrist.  Actually, even IF he is found grossly negligent he will still get a slap on the wrist.  The worst part is the next person will never know because it will be expunged from records "like it never even happened"!

What can I do?

  • Contact your representative and find out how old your state laws are - what do they say? Get them changed!
  • Let your lawmakers know how despicable insurance companies are and work for fair legislation (make them pay legitimate claims).
  • Know your animal laws, don't just assume things will be right and fair - they are not! I've been told most of these laws are made with the advantage given to the medical professionals. (ya think?)
  • Pay attention when someone mentions their dog has died or was maimed by a vet. It happens far more often than you realize.
  • Every vet is entitled to a mistake or two - they are only human but when their ego gets in the way and it happens over and over time to get a new vet and hold them accountable.

8 Things You Can Do To Protect Against Poor or Restrictive Dog Legislation

1. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for all publicity regarding dog incidents - good or bad. Keep a file.
2. Contact me so we're alerted to potential problems and/or pet legislation.
3. Check the legal notices in your newspaper for hearings about proposals related to dogs and pets. (A favorite is to limit the number of pets per household under zoning.)
4. Rally as many dog clubs and responsible dog owners in your area as possible to go to all public hearings.
5. Assemble information for an orderly and calm presentation to your legislators.
6. Present a viable alternative to any proposal for anti-dog or anti-pet legislation.
7. Support legitimate groups financially so the necessary funds will be available to fight bad legislation. NOT the HSUS or PETA!
8. Join us to promote sound, fair animal legislation.

How to avoid Negligent Malpractice on your Pet & What to do if it happens

  • Be vigilant, ask questions, if something seems not right, get a second opinion and document everything!
  • If your dog is in distress and recently had surgery go to a DIFFERENT vet - preferably a large practice or teaching school (such as MSU). Never go to someone that may be friends with the vet that did the surgery.
  • File complaints immediately with licensing boards and follow through. I understand there is an appeal process. That is something I should have done but was not aware of.
  • Don't sign anything that gives up your rights - they are counting on you not reading documents you are asked to sign - if you don't understand it, have someone explain it to you. Don't let him pay the "bill" as that can be construed to be a settlement.
  • If your attorney wants you to sign something you don't feel comfortable with, get another attorney and don't wait too long, there is a statute of limitations and insurance companies will use this against you.
  • Take pictures of everything - before surgery, after surgery - ask for medical records.  If you have a different type of case such as abuse or killing the dog by another party - document everything you possibly can.  Have an attorney ask for records before they "disappear" or mysteriously get altered.
  • Have your attorney get a copy of the veterinarian's insurance policy.  That will tell you what you are likely to settle for - and it probably isn't much.

Below are websites where you can check on complaints received about a vet.  Bear in mind that at first a filed complaint only an "allegation" and only becomes a "complaint" once all information has been collected by the state and reasonable cause for disciplinary action will be taken.  At that time it is sent to a committee to decide further action and becomes a "complaint".  Once action has been taken, it becomes a "disciplinary action" and fines or licensing restrictions may be imposed.  Therefore, a veterinarian may have outstanding complaints, but nothing may show up online.  Also, there is a procedure for complaints to be removed from the record so he can get his license back.  Not very ethical...but....

More ways to protect yourself if your pet is a victim:

Veterinary Abuse Network - a very helpful website & has the links for complaints and record searches for other states here - good list of information

ALDF's Veterinary Malpractice Fact sheet

Dog Bit Law's Vet Malpractice Page

Better Business Bureau

American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) State Links!

AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association)

Animal Legal Defense Fund

Mr. Fluffy's Veterinary Malpractice Links (NY)

Pet Overnight Medical Care Association

Pet Gate - A one man crusade to give us the right to our pets medical records!

Malpractice in Northern Illinois - Information on "Sneakers" another malpractice case

Toasty's Veterinary Malpractice Guide - info about why a license was suspended or vet disciplined

Non-Economic Damage awards in Veterinary Malpractice

 MSU Animal & Legal Historical Center

MI Assoc. for Purebred Dogs

MI Legislative website (search bills)

Aniamal Law Center LLC

Veterinary Malpractice Guide 

Standard of Conduct

Overview of Pet Cruelty Laws

State Animal Protection Laws

Animal Protection Laws US & Canada (interactive map)

Attending a Criminal Court Proceeding

Veterinary Malpractice Case Law

Indiana dog shot

Animal Abuse Registry


Articles about Animal Cruelty and Law Enforcement Shootings:

250,000 cops-shoot-dog cases a year (midway through article goes into this)

Article from Law Enforcement today - Dogs & the 4th Amendment

Law Enforcement Today article



Michigan Rulings

Nothing recent.... there is an attempt to get a dog abuser registry passed


Other State Rulings

Supreme Court of Texas deciding whether pets have an emotional value in dollars

Texas appellate court says couple can sue for sentinmental damages in dog death

Want to know more?

About the 1919 Dog Law

Mulan's Horror Story

Other Pet Stories

Dog Law - Legal terms, case studies

Resources for Change

List of malpractice/abuse cases

Puppy Lemon Laws