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Vet's supporters, licensing board at odds

Posted May 3, 2010

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— A veterinarian in Dunn is being asked to surrender his license after the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board said he has displayed evidence of incompetence.

The board says three complaints were filed last year against Dr. Guy Beretich, owner of Vets for Pets Animal Hospital. In one case the board called his care "incompetent."

"The case was not managed well. The examination was poor. You failed to make a diagnosis. You provided inadequate treatment and kept the dog overnight on fluids while unattended," the board stated in its report.

In another, the board said Beretich, 77, chose an inappropriate surgery for a dog's eye and then did the procedure on the wrong eye.

Dunn vet at odds with licensing board Dunn vet at odds with licensing board

They also say that Beretich has had employees who were not licensed in veterinary medicine treat the animals.

The board has issued a formal letter of reprimand to Beretich and ordered him to surrender his license by the end of June.

Beretich, who has been a veterinarian in the state for the past 54 years, said he plans to legally fight the board’s actions.

“I don’t have that many years left, so I’d rather go down with a sword in my hand than crying in my handkerchief,” Beretich said Monday.

The board has suspended Beretich’s license twice before.

In 1985, it was suspended after inspectors found unsanitary conditions in his clinic in Clinton.

His license was also suspended in 1998 when the state said he did not properly treat and clean the wounds of a cat that soon died.

"We kind of feel our back's against the wall," Veterinary Medical Board Executive Director Thomas Mickey said. "How many times can you deal with someone?"

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has accused Beretich of using his clinic as a puppy mill. On PETA’s website, an article says Beretich allegedly breeds puppies behind his clinic in order to sell them at his Dunn pet store, Pets N Such.

“When PETA cruelty caseworkers called Vets for Pets, they were told that they could adopt a dog for a fee and that puppies bred by Beretich were for sale in his store,” the article states.

The site also lists a series of complaints about animal care and conditions from former employees of Vets for Pets.

Records pertaining to puppies who have died are not kept, according to the PETA article.

Beretich denies PETA’s claims.

Beretich said he would take the loss of his license and his clinic personally. He noted that he’s been married for 53 years, and he’s been a veterinarian for 54. “I take both of them very personally,” he said.

Supporters for Beretich have started an online petition and Facebook group in an effort to keep him in business.

"Doctor Guy looks after them like they were his own children," client Jerry McLamb said Monday.

A hand-written petition being circulated locally has about 3,000 signatures.

"This place provides a lot of affordable health care for a lot of low-income families," client Sherry Jackson said.

"If he's made a mistake, so has everybody else. But fine him, let him pay his fine, and go on," said supporter Chelle Raynor.

Supporters gathered outside the Walmart in Dunn on Saturday to show support for Beretich. “We had elderly people just crying. They don’t know where they’re gonna go because of their income. They can’t afford it,”  Raynor said.

The board gave Beretich until June 30 to surrender his license, but he told WRAL News on Monday that he has rejected their decision.

An administrative hearing will be scheduled for Beretich to address the board in an effort to keep his license.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ May 13, 2010

    Although I do not know anything about the vet in question, I have had negative experiences dealing with the Vet Board. They are not as independent and impartial as you might think.

    I filed a 40+ page complaint (with photos) against the NCSU Vet School because of a screw-up they did on my cat, who almost died. My vet saved the cat. I had independent reports from two different parties, and the Vet Board did not even request the second report showing probable negligence on the part of the "vet" at NCSU Vet School. A year later, the Vet Board stated that it was my fault and that I knew the risks when I took the cat to the NCSU Vet School.

  • mustardseedpro May 5, 2010

    luuuuuuuvdogs and CriminyCraft to imply that the supporters of Dr.Beretich do not research Vets and the complaints against him is very offensive to many people. We live in a day of mass tecnology tools. We also know when to get involed in a worhty cause or to choose not! As I do appreciate anyones compassion for animals, yours included, I do question however the source of complaints, the time in history and the MOTIVES of such outrage toward a Veteran of the Veterinary Practice.We respect the board to look at the big picture here. Work for a PEACEFUL solution! Recognize this loss if it occures,will impact many lives in our already struggling community.I care about MY community,animals, pet owners and just down right LOVE all. It is now up to the Board and Dr. Beretich and his fine family to work this out. You have been heard loud and clear as well as those who support Vets for Pets! I now go in peace to have a lovely day! Peace to you as well! My Comment period.

  • luuuuuuuvdogs May 5, 2010

    No one in these posts, including myself, is "bashing" him.I am simply commenting-as you are-and responding to items that I KNOW are incorrect such as your comment about the pens and the statement regarding the pet store.I'll state again, I KNOW the pen on the side is covered, THE ONES IN THE BACK WERE NOT. In fact, there used to be a large area out front that didn't have any cover either except for those tin "shelters". There aren't any dogs anywhere outside now, so it's a moot point. As you've stated-everyone is free to make their own choice. You obviously are satisfied with yours even after reading what you say you've read and regardless of his repeatedly breeding MANY small female dogs so that he could sell their pups. I made my choice NOT to go there after doing MY research.

  • 1KidMom May 5, 2010

    Ok like I said look at your laws to what they interpret shelter to be, he has provided that. And I encourage all that don't support him use another vet. It's that simple. Don't have to bash him, it's no different than choosing a different Dr. for yourself or your kid. It's no different than preference of one grocery store over another. That's the cool thing you can choose who you use. Doesn't mean you have to slam the one you don't choose. I'm not slamming other Vet practices. And those pens located on each side of the building are covered. And I have read the minutes and complaints, thank you and still made my choice.

  • uncmom42 May 4, 2010

    he goes far and beyond his call of duty when it comes to treating animals in need!!!!!! he would never mistreat any animal what so ever!!!!!!!!!!!

  • luuuuuuuvdogs May 4, 2010

    ikidmom-there were NO awnings on those pens in the back of VfP for years up until this past year when the VfP shelter was shut down. No awnings whatsoever-they had tin things to go under-not enclosed-no way to stop rain or wind from blowing in-open on both ends. There WAS one long pen on the side that had an awning, but not the ones in back. I went there to look for a dog and saw it with my own eyes-made me sick-I would never keep a dog outside in that. Uncmom42 said she worked there and that "they wanted dr.b. to put them down, and he REFUSED to do so and he would treat and keep them himself!" So, either she isn't clear on things, or you aren't. As far a pet store-I don't know what you call breeding small dogs over and over so that you can sell the puppies for up to $500 each-which as willnchristina said would probably cover the expenses he has since he charges so little. So, is it right to breed female dogs so you can sell them to cover costs when you are a vet and promote spaying?

  • CriminyCrafft May 4, 2010

    willnchristina00 - First, Beretich freely admits to breeding dogs and selling them at his practice. This has been shut down by the Agricultural Board, however, because he was keeping well over a hundred animals at Vets for Pets. You are correct that a person who truly cares about animals would be concerned about pet overpopulation and would not run a for-profit breeding operation. Second, the NCVMB asked him to retire quietly and surrender his license, but Beretich refused.

  • CriminyCrafft May 4, 2010

    I encourage all of Beretich's supporters to request copies of all complaints filed against him over the years from the NCVMB, as well as the Board's previous orders suspending Beretich's license. They are appalling. As luuuuuuuvdogs said, the Vet Board does not pull licenses on a whim or to settle a vendetta. They receive many, many complaints against vets every year, and most of them are dismissed. There are very good reasons this man has had his license revoked three times. I hope that each of his supporters will inform themselves by reviewing the prior proceedings against him.

  • 1KidMom May 4, 2010

    Please no confusion when I said strays that don't get homes, they do not come from Dr. Guy, I'm saying shelters, that supply to animal research and such. This man has lived his life, raised and provided education to his children, been married for 53 years, served in the war, held hostage in Africa, speaks several languages, went across borders to supply food/supplies to another country and all the while has found time to be a VET for the last 54 years. If you ask him he will say life has been good, so yeah I think he is trying to go out on top by providing spay and neuter services to every stray that crosses his treshold.

  • 1KidMom May 4, 2010

    First there is no pet store, and he was not a puppy mill. Second, all those cats and dogs you are referencing to were rescues that would have been euthanized otherwise. He would vaccine, spay or neuter those animals and give them to loving homes. Third he will not keep your pet against your will and choose not to euthanize it. And please have you ever disected a cat? Well in the case that you have or haven't, guess where they come from. The strays that don't get homes. Also those outside pens in the comment are covered by a awning off the sides of the building. Read the law to what shelter is describe to be for an animal and ask yourself has your own animal outside got that.