was established November 7, 2002
to advocate against veterinary malpractice, incompetence & negligence and
to educate the public about how state veterinary boards handle citizens' complaints


Sisters Decry Vet Board
A Settlement in the Death of Their Dog Has the Pair Seeking the Governor's Aid

The News & Observer
April 12, 2003
Edition: Final
Section: News
Page: B3

Author: Ruth Sheehan; Staff Writer

Nancy and Edna Deas have spent three years and more than $20,000 to avenge the death of their beloved 14-year-old black Manchester terrier, Alex.

The sisters have hired private detectives, hounded public officials and amassed a 1,500-page file. They have documented their quest on a Web site slamming the vets they believe were responsible for Alex's too-early demise.

And they're not done yet: Now they want to get Gov. Mike Easley involved.

On Tuesday, the sisters, who live in Raleigh, learned that one of the veterinarians in the case, Dr. Kevin Monce, had settled with the state Veterinary Medical Board. And they are outraged.

Monce received a 30-day suspension, which was immediately suspended, and a year's probation. He will also pay a $5,000 fine.

But what troubles Nancy Deas is that the board, as part of the settlement, essentially clears Monce of earlier allegations of malpractice, incompetence and negligence.

"That is just egregious," said Deas, noting that the vet board had accused Monce of malpractice in March 2001. "How they could then reverse that I don't understand."

The Deases' original complaints — against Monce, an internal medicine specialist, and their regular vet, Dr. Dana Jones of Raleigh — alleged that the two doctors did not provide proper care to the ailing Alex when he was brought in on Dec. 28, 1999, and in the days that followed. Among other things, the sisters said the dog suffered a fractured jaw and broken teeth during one visit. They also claim the dog was misdiagnosed and, as a result, mistreated. Alex was euthanized at an emergency clinic on Jan. 4, 2000.

Jones received a letter of reprimand for his role. But Monce has maintained from the start that the care he provided to Alex was solid; he refused to accept the original reprimand from the vet board, appealing it to the Office of Administrative Hearings.

"I don't malpractice," Monce said bluntly. "I don't make very many mistakes."

Monce, whose practice is now based in Wilmington, said he originally felt compassion for the Deas sisters, who, like many of his patients' owners, were a "dedicated pet-owning family."

But in the intervening three years, he has come to resent them greatly. In addition to their original complaints, the sisters' activism pushed the vet board to enter an additional complaint against Monce, citing regulatory violations such as failing to have his mobile unit properly inspected. Monce said he has paid a hefty price not only in lawyers' fees but also in lost business.

"Someone might say they've gone off the deep end," Monce said, "but it's not going to be me."

Monce's lawyer, Michael Crowell, was less reticent. "This case shows how obsessive, vindictive people can put a respected professional through years of turmoil and expense," Crowell said. "These are not nice people."

The Deas sisters, for their part, believe that, in their grief, they are helping protect other pet lovers.

"Quite frankly, I think the conduct of the [vet] board needs investigating," said Nancy Deas, who is trying to set up a meeting with Easley to discuss the board's actions. In the past, the sisters have accused the board of altering audiotapes, an allegation the board flatly denies.

Meanwhile, Deas said she and her sister have every intention of keeping up their Web site — www.aligus.com -- where a banner headline of "Veterinary Malpractice, Incompetence & Negligence" sits just above the names of Jones and Monce.

Under the doctors' names are two small pictures of candles, with electronically flickering flames, symbolizing the dearly departed Alex and his brother Gus.

"There is a hole in your life until the truth is found," the Deases' site reads. "The hole in your heart is forever."

Copyright 2003 by The News & Observer Pub. Co.
Record Number: hd7y5e89

Reprinted by permission of The News and Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina

See also: Dog's Tale Fills 1,500 Pages — October 16, 2002

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