Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Monday, Feb. 13 @ 4 p.m. / Animals, Community
Del Norte Woman Recounts Cat's Experience With Public Vet, Says She's Trying To Find Other Options For Canceled Clinic
• After Receiving Complaints, Mobile Vet Pulls Plug On Spay-Neuter Clinic, Potentially Putting a DN Humane Society Grant in Jeopardy
A local cat owner says she’s trying to find options for those left in the lurch after her complaint prompted a nonprofit mobile vet organization to cancel a Feb. 3 spay-neuter clinic in Klamath.
Glorya Ewing told the Wild Rivers Outpost that she has found several businesses willing to sponsor surgeries for people who had signed up for the Humane Society of Del Norte’s spay-neuter clinic. After announcing her intentions on social media, Ewing said people have been taking her up on her offer.
“I paid with their initial visit with the vet because the pets have to have an exam, so I paid $45 and they had to pay $20 for that exam. And then I found a sponsorship for the rest of their fee,” she said. “I opened my big fat mouth and I felt I shared some responsibility in trying to fix it.”
Ewing said her kitten Bijou had a bad time coming out of anesthesia after Dr. Gabriel Armendariz Peavy, who works with Public Vet, neutered him at the Humane Society’s Jan. 8 clinic at Elk Valley Head Start. It was the first monthly clinic the Humane Society of Del Norte planned to hold in 2023 through a $128,400 Californians For All Animals grant.
When he came around about three hours after they got home, Ewing said, Bijou began tearing at his cage and was in “full-on fight or flight.”
It wasn’t until later that evening that Bijou calmed down enough to eat and drink, Ewing said. He ate and drank a little the next day, though he wasn’t his normal self. The day after, Bijou was feverish, lethargic and had no appetite, Ewing said.
She said she called Public Vet and spoke with its founder Dr. Tess Peavy.
“She said to send her a video of the kitten. I said, ‘OK, what exactly do you want me to get a picture of that captures lethargy, fever and no appetite?’” Ewing told the Outpost. “Her reply was that if I didn’t want to cooperate, she wouldn’t help me. She told me this was an emergency line and she had other calls and hung up. I videoed the incision site and the kitten was still on my bed. I called Peavy back to ask her where to send the video, thinking that an emergency line would not be the place to send it. She assured me to send it to that number and to include his discharge paperwork.”
Meanwhile, Ewing took Bijou to her own veterinarian, who had to try several times to get a list of the medications Armendariz Peavy administered to him during the surgery. After receiving fluids, antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory injection, it took a week for Bijou to feel better. But, Ewing says he’s still traumatized.
“Prior to his surgery, he loved everyone and was outgoing and social with the vet techs every time he was seen,” she said. “Now he hides under a towel the entire time he is there.”
Ewing said she holds Peavy responsible for how Bijou was treated at that clinic, not the Humane Society. But Ewing does take issue with how Humane Society President Danielle Larsen-Wheeler handled her complaints.
“Her response to me (was), ‘I’ve been dealing with Dr. Peavy for 21 years (she’s) a fine vet,” Ewing said of her conversation with Larsen-Wheeler. “It was, ‘The end justifies the means. Your kitten is fine, so no harm was done.’”
Ewing said after she complained on Facebook, several others told her about similar responses they had with Peavy.
Peavy has an active veterinary license from Indiana that was issued in 2000 and expires in October 2023. She is also licensed in Ohio and Georgia.
Peavy works with her children, Dr. Aria Armendariz, who has a California veterinary license, and Dr. Gabriel Armendariz Peavy, whose license is from Indiana.
In April 2016, Peavy had applied to the California Veterinary Medical Board for a license and was denied. According to a Veterinary Medical Board Statement of Issues, the denial stems from disciplinary action the State of Oregon had taken against Peavy.
That disciplinary action was in response to allegations that Peavy had failed to perform and document all of the required elements of a physical examination; failed to use sterile instruments while performing surgery; failed to maintain legible individual records for each animal; failed to document all the drugs used during procedures and charging for the neuter of an animal that didn’t get neutered.
As a result, Peavy agreed to complete 40 hours of continuing education in aseptic procedures and record keeping and provide advance notice of spay-neuter clinics to the State of Oregon and allow a Board member or staff to observe; have another veterinarian on site when she was going to do 20 or more procedures and pay a civil penalty.
In 2019, California was ready to issue a veterinary license to Peavy, but it was probationary.
“I couldn’t find a single clinic who wanted to work with me,” Peavy told the Outpost on Thursday. “I get it. I wouldn’t want to hire me either. I couldn’t find a job and I wasn’t in a position to bring Public Vet off reservations because COVID had hit.”
According to Peavy, The lack of a California veterinary license doesn’t preclude her from working on Indian reservations.
Larsen-Wheeler, who has worked with Peavy and Public Vet for about 20 years, said she didn’t know about Oregon’s disciplinary action against Peavy until she was already working with her.
Larsen-Wheeler said she only knew there was a complaint against Peavy and Peavy wasn’t going to respond to it.
According to Larsen-Wheeler, there’s no law against Peavy working on Indian reservations.
“That’s basically what the (California Veterinary Board) said — they have no jurisdiction,” Larsen-Wheeler told the Outpost.
Larsen-Wheeler said 80 people had signed up for the Feb. 3 clinic when Aria Armendariz announced that she was cancelling.
In a Jan. 22 letter posted on Facebook, Armendariz said she felt uncomfortable “working in a community where so much hate and hostility has been raised.”
Larsen-Wheeler sets up two clinics a month for S/NIPPED in Coos Bay. She said she’s currently trying to set up a third. But neither they nor the local veterinarians can keep up with the volume of calls that Public Vet can, she said.
“The clinic in Coos Bay will do 30 animals for me in a day, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to what I need,” Larsen-Wheeler told the Outpost. “(Public Vet) do high volume spay-neuter — that’s just what they’re good at. They’re just faster at the surgeries. They’ll work from 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., no problem. My vet in Coos Bay, I think he’s usually done by 3 or 3:30 p.m. and he starts surgeries at about 11.”
Since the grant took effect at the beginning of the year, the Humane Society has fixed 90 dogs and 185 cats, Larsen-Wheeler said.
The Humane Society has also scheduled two spay-neuter appointments with All Creatures Animal Hospital in Crescent City, but it’s not until March, Vice President Eileen Bennett said.
The Humane Society received the California For All Animals grant to increase the number of animals it can spay and neuter in a year. Funded through the state, California For All Animals committed to providing $128,400 to the Humane Society annually for three years.
On Monday, Bennett said the scope of the grant doesn’t give a specific number of animals the Humane Society is supposed to get fixed within a year. The $128,400 the organization received could help double the number of animals it reaches, she said.
Bennett said she thought Ewing’s concerns about Peavy were valid. Bennett said she also appreciated that in Ewing’s initial Facebook post, she was positive about the Humane Society and the work it does.
“Her biggest complaint within that post was the way she was treated by Dr. Peavy when she followed the after-care instructions that told her to call a cell phone number. The person that answered that call was Dr. Peavy,” Bennett said. “Everything she put in her post was valid, who am I to tell her she’s wrong for feeling that way?”
Bennett said she also appreciates that Ewing is trying to help those who are impacted by the Feb. 3 clinic’s cancellation. Bennett said after Ewing had received a sponsorship of $300 for a $400 surgery, the Humane Society provided a $100 voucher to take care of the remaining cost.
Though she stands by her complaints — adding she feels the Humane Society needs to take responsibility as well — Ewing said she felt bad for the people who had signed up for the February clinic. That’s what prompted her to seek sponsorships from local businesses, she said.
“It’s difficult to have to wait a couple of weeks, sometimes a couple of months, to get your pet in for a spay (or) neuter, and it’s expensive,” she said. “Let’s go ahead and talk to some business owners in the area and see if we can get help for those 100 people that got left in the lurch.”