Pet owner speaks out after social media post about her dead dog
El PASO, TEXAS —
A local pet owner contacted KFOX14 after a video of her beloved dog who had just died was posted on social media.
The Torres family said the El Paso Animal Emergency & Veterinary Specialty Center did everything it could to help Max, their 13-year-old German shepherd.
He had a rare condition that caused his death. He suffered complications three weeks ago that forced his primary vet to urge the family to take him to the emergency center.
A tumor near his heart burst, filling his chest cavity with blood and leading to heart failure.
The vet assisting the family asked for permission to do an autopsy on Max after the dog could not be revived. The vet said it was for research purposes, and the family agreed, hoping it could help another dog.
Denise Torres said what followed after they left the center and said their goodbyes to Max made them angry.
Hours later, Torres’ son saw an Instagram video that showed a vet tech from the clinic stapling up a dog. Before starting the work, she smiled and waved the tools she was using. The words "All done" appear, and the person recording can be heard saying "Yay.”
The dog's face isn't shown, but her son recognized Max's body right away.
“I just feel very, very sad and disrespected, more so for him than for us as a family,” said Torres.
“It was my dog and she had no care, no regard for it. She took a video of another tech with Max cut open and sewing him up and then proceeded to take a selfie with my dog in the background."
After her son told her about the video, they went back to the vet's office and told the office manager and owner of the center, Dr. Pete Koplos, what happened.
Torres said he apologized, said he would speak to the techs and also told her that staff is allowed to post videos online as long as they're professional and educational, but Torres said the post was not.
“I just don't understand why she would have done it. I wish she could answer that for us,” said Torres.
KFOX14 contacted the center several times to speak with Koplos, but he never responded.
Torres said Koplos called her and told her that he fired the vet techs who posted the video and picture.
We also contacted the vet tech who posted the video and pictures, but she never replied.
The Torres family said firing them doesn't make it right. They want other pet owners to be aware and hope no one else goes through the same thing.
“I just think everybody needs to know about this because the unfortunate thing for us as pet owners is we don't know what happens behind those closed doors,” said Torres.
She filed a complaint with the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. Complaints against a clinic or veterinary staff who are not licensed doctors are filed in the name of the lead veterinarian who owns the clinic or under whom staff practice.
KFOX14 also contacted the board, which said Koplos has not had any disciplinary action taken against him or his clinic. The board could not say if there were any other pending complaints or investigations.
If a vet or clinic is found to have violated the professional rules of conduct or any of the boards laws and rules, they could face disciplinary action or lose their license.
If you have concerns about a vet office, you can call the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners at 512-305-7555