Staggering Allegations Made Against CT Veterinarian

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

In the United States of America, all new veterinarians take the following oath:

“Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.

I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.

I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.”

But apparently some of them don’t take it seriously.

According to a recent news report, Dr. Amr Wasfi, a Bridgeport, Connecticut, veterinarian, was supposed to appear in court on Wednesday. He is facing animal cruelty and third-degree larceny charges based on his “treatment” of a dog named Monster.

The accusations are detailed in an arrest warrant and shared on an NBC affiliate’s website. As set forth in the warrant, Monster’s owner took him to the vet when he noticed Monster limping. That was on February 14, and the initial diagnosis was a sprained knee. Apparently, Wasfi prescribed some pain medicine and sent the dog home.

But when Monster hadn’t improved a week later, his owner brought him back to Black Rock Animal Hospital, where Wasfi again assessed the dog’s condition. This time, the diagnosis was a fractured pelvis. Monster’s owner learned that surgical intervention would be required, and Monster would have to stay at the hospital for five days (until March 7).

A stunning revelation

As NBC’s Connecticut affiliate reports, Monster’s owner told the authorities he contacted the vet that day, only to be told his dog couldn’t come home — yet. Instead, he was allegedly told, Monster had to “stay a few more days for monitoring.” Apparently, Monster’s repeated requests to see his dog after that were denied.  According to the warrant, he finally contacted Animal Control and retrieved Monster on March 25.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

According to the warrant, Monster’s owner then discovered that his dog, who 63 pounds prior to his stay at Black Rock Animal Hospital, had lost 17 pounds.

Monster’s owner then took him to the Emergency Room at Central Hospital for Veterinary Medicine. That’s when he learned that Monster never had a fracture and he never needed operation, which included putting a screw in Monster’s pelvis. One of the veterinarians that treated Monster at Central Hospital For Veterinary Medicine also told police that Monster was being treated for “refeeding syndrome” and dehydration. Police then learned that the treatment is warranted when “an animal is without proper food or water for at least 10 days.”

To make matters even worse, Monster’s owner also told police Wasfi charged him more than $3,000 for Monster’s operation.

An emerging pattern?

As NBC Connecticut also reports, that wasn’t the only complaint lodged against Wasfi. A former Black Rock employee apparently reported that she “witnessed Wasfi hit a kitten that was under anesthesia so hard that the kittens intestines popped out of an incision.” As documented in the warrant, the same complainant  also said that Wasfi was “agitated” and threw surgical tools around the room.”

The warrant also indicates she confided in a co-worker and said she planned to file a complaint. She also told police she planned to resign the next day, but when she showed up for work the employee with whom she shared her concerns greeted her at the door, in gave her a box of her belongings, and informed her she had been fired.

At this point, Wasfi also faces an uncertain fate. In addition to the criminal charges he is currently facing, he will likely face disciplinary action by the Connecticut State Board of Veterinary Medicine.

Sec. 20-202(2) of Chapter 384 of the Connecticut General Statutes specifically states that the board can discipline a licensed veterinarian when there is proof that: “the holder of such license or certificate has become unfit or incompetent or has been guilty of cruelty, unskillfulness or negligence towards animals and birds.”

Sec. 20-202(3) of CGS Chapter 384 also authorizes the board to take disciplinary action based upon: “conviction of the violation of any of the provisions of this chapter by any court of criminal jurisdiction.”

However, the board cannot take any disciplinary action as long as the appeal of such a conviction is pending, or if the conviction is overturned on appeal.


Alexandra Bogdanovic is a paralegal and the owner/founder of In Brief Legal Writing Services. She is also an award-winning author and journalist whose interests include animal welfare and animal law. All opinions expressed in this forum are her own. Any information pertaining to legal matters is intended solely for general audiences and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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Oh, no! Not the vet!

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.
Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

So I had to take Eli to the vet today. Actually I was supposed to take him on Wednesday, but luckily for him (or maybe for both of us), it was freezing and I was still recovering from the stomach flu so I decided to reschedule.

Of course that was simply delaying the inevitable.

It doesn’t matter whether he has to go to get his nails trimmed or whether it’s time for his annual shots. He does not like the vet. And, being a cat, he makes his feelings on the subject “purrfectly” clear.

Here’s what always happens: An hour or so before the appointment, I go down to the car and hit the control lever for the front passenger seat until the seat is flat and as far back as possible. Next I go into the basement, grab his carrier and stash it in the upstairs hallway. If I am lucky, I will then find my 15-and-a-half pound cat on my bed so I can easily apply a generous dose of herbal calming gel to his paws.

By this point, there’s usually about 30 minutes until the appointment. Assuming Eli has actually ingested some of the salmon-flavored calming gel (he should theoretically do so when he licks his paws) it is fairly easy to wrangle him into his large blue carrier. Of course the phrase, “fairly easy” is relative… after all, he is a cat.

Getting him into the carrier is one thing. Taking the carrier down a steep set of stairs without breaking my neck is another challenge altogether. By the time I finally get him situated in the car both of us are completely frazzled. By the time I start the engine, a pitiful mewing is sounding from his crate.

Fortunately the trip itself only takes five to ten minutes, depending on the traffic. I drive with one hand on the wheel and one hand on the crate, speaking softly the whole time. I know he’s upset and scared, and I want to offer all the comfort and reassurance I can. After all, I don’t like going to the doctor, either…

When we finally arrive, I wrestle the carrier into the lobby and put it on the floor while I sign in. By now, Eli knows where he is and makes his displeasure known — loudly. With paperwork completed, I take a seat, put the carrier on my lap and give Eli a pep talk — or a lecture, depending on how badly he’s behaving. I breathe a sigh of relief when the vet or vet tech finally takes him into the back room.

But the relief is short-lived. As the minutes tick by I glance between the wall-mounted TV and my cell phone, hoping that Eli is OK and praying that he’s being good. He’s a sweet boy — most of the time. But he has been known to bite, and he fought his old vet so much that she’d have to sedate him just to trim his nails.

Back in those days, Eli would emerge from the clinic looking miserable — and I would leave with a hefty bill.

I shared Eli’s history and my concerns about his behavior with his new vet when we moved back to Connecticut from Virginia. She said in her experience, cats seem to do better when they are not restrained during exams. She also asked whether Eli acts up more when I stay in the exam room — which he does.

Given that, we agreed that Eli would be treated in a separate area while I wait in the lobby. Because I haven’t witnessed any of the procedures, I can’t say exactly what transpires. Apparently it’s working though. To date he hasn’t been sedated and he hasn’t bitten anyone — that I know of. I’ve actually been told that he’s been a good boy.

Perhaps Eli (who just celebrated his 10th birthday) is mellowing in his old age. Or perhaps he’s simply decided to tolerate this new vet and her staff. I can’t say for sure.

I do know that there’s a growing trend towards making vet visits less stressful for pets. You can learn just how they’re doing so in a report on the subject that was recently published on abc.go.com.

Now if only they could do the same for people…