The state Attorney General’s office is seeking to revoke the license of two veterinary clinics in Santa Clarita, following multiple complaints of negligence and unprofessional conduct.
All Creatures Veterinary Center in Newhall and the Canyon Country Veterinary Hospital in Canyon Country were named in the complaint, along with the AV Veterinary Center in Antelope Valley. All three clinics are under the managing license held by Dr. Balpal S. Sandhu.
A total of 14 animals and their owners are reported as victims in the complaint, filed Nov. 4, with each animal and owner allegedly experiencing various levels of incompetence and failure to comply with regulations. Each animal reportedly experienced undue pain, discomfort and, in some cases, death, the complaint states.
The latest complaint comes after Sandhu was placed on probation on May 29, 2016, as a result of the Veterinary Medical Board finding one cause of negligence, one cause of record-keeping violations and one cause for anesthesia violations. The probation was meant to last three years, according to the complaint.
A call placed to the All Creatures Veterinary Center in Newhall was referred to the AV Veterinary Center. Calls placed to the Canyon Country Veterinary Hospital and the AV Veterinary Center were left unanswered as of the publication of this article.
“People in our community need to be aware of where they are taking care of their pets and trusting in an emergency,” said Edward Robert, a former Acton resident who had taken his dog Fiona to the AV Veterinary Clinic.
Robert said after Fiona sustained a serious bite from another dog, he took her to AV Veterinary Clinic in September 2018. A few days after the visit, Fiona was discharged to Robert, and according to his story, which is referenced in the complaint filed by the attorney general, the dog died soon after.
Robert filed a civil suit with a private attorney in February 2019 but had also placed a complaint with the California Veterinary Board simultaneously. In his mind, he said, his complaint to the board resulted in a number of other cases being brought forward against Sandhu and his clinics.
The attorney general, in addition to accusing the AV Veterinary Center of failing to maintain proper records, said Sandhu’s team “committed negligence by failing to expedite exploratory surgery for animal patient Fiona, resulting in Fiona’s deterioration and eventual death.”
Another victim referenced in the complaint, Stephanie Miletti, brought her geriatric cat Clay to the Antelope Valley Center. The attorney general alleges that deception, negligence or incompetence led to the death of Miletti’s cat:
“On Nov. 19, 2018, after (Miletti) returned Clay to AVVC, (AVVC) did not examine the animal patient or perform further diagnostics and did not discuss treatment options with (Miletti) for Clay, a geriatric cat with a history of urinary tract disease,” according to the complaint. “Instead, Clay was immediately taken to surgery.”
On Nov. 23, Clay was released back to Miletti without a veterinary evaluation, according to the AG’s complaint, and died soon after with a chest cavity filled with fluid.
At All Creatures Veterinary Clinic in Newhall, Michele Westmore Meeks of Newhall said she took her dog in for a visit in late 2018. Meister, a 5-year-old Labrador, died soon after visiting All Creatures and, according to Meeks, she was never given a proper explanation for his death.
“My dog passing caused a huge ripple in my family,” said Meeks over a phone call Saturday. “My husband said, ‘What price can you put on your emotional loss and suing him.’ The money is not the problem … my goal is going to be to go with the state of California to make sure (Sandhu) loses his license.’”
Meeks is not referenced in the AG’s complaint. However, she said she has filed another complaint with the veterinary board.
In total, there are 41 causes for discipline filed against Sandhu and his three clinics in the complaint filed Nov. 4. The case has been brought in front of the Veterinary Medical Board in the Department of Consumer Affairs for the state of California.
As of Saturday, the case remained under review.