The Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine Tuesday placed a local veterinarian on probation for three years.
The state investigation found Dr. Haydee Perez-Tirse incompetent and negligent in the care of one dog whose owner filed a complaint and of sloppy record keeping based on two complaints.
During Tuesday’s hearing, the vet admitted her practice wasn’t flawless. She reached a settlement with the state that put her on probation, but let her keep her license.
NBC 6 investigators first investigated Perez-Tirse and Panda Animal Clinic in Hialeah more than a year ago after employees accused the vet of jeopardizing the health of animals in her care.
In front of her peers, Perez-Tirse addressed accusations in the state’s complaint against her. She admitted she used a drug on a dog that was taken off the market in 1977—almost 40 years ago.
“I was not aware at the time that I was using it that it was pulled from the market. That was my mishap, I was not aware of that, " said Perez-Tirse.
“Are you aware of its use in animals with pre-existing liver disease?" asked board member Terry Spencer during the hearing.
Perez-Tirse responded, "I was not aware at of that at the time."
That medication was used on Chauncey, a terrier mix with liver disease. He eventually had to be euthanized.
The state board also questioned Perez-Tirse about reusing syringes at her clinic.
“I didn’t think that existed anymore can you explain to me why that’s a practice…?” asked Spencer.
“We throw away the needles. The syringes are washed and re-sterilized. I do it more as a protocol you know as far as saving. I’m a person that likes to save the environment, go green so to speak so that is why I do it," said Perez-Tirse.
Former employees had told NBC 6 investigators about dull needles being reused on animals over a year ago. That’s when we went inside Panda Animal Clinic in Hialeah to investigate those claims. Perez-Tirse told NBC6 those accusations were fabricated by disgruntled employees.
Tuesday, the state found that Perez-Tirse was incompetent or negligent in the care of Chauncy and that she failed to keep adequate medical records for both Chauncy and LJ, a kitten that got gangrene after being declawed at the clinic. LJ also had to be euthanized. Tuesday's decision was little consolation for LJ’s owner Alicia Morgan.
“Justice was not served and I won’t stop until she is in jail or at least has her license suspended," said Morgan.
While Perez-Tirse did not admit to the facts of these cases, she did agree to the proposed settlement that puts her on probation for three years. Perez-Tirse was ordered to pay more than $6,000 in fines and fees and to attend 18 hours of educational classes, including pharmacology and proper medical record keeping.
Perez-Tirse admitted she should have kept better records and that her staff altered records before submitting them to state investigators.
At the hearing, Perez-Tirse and her attorney declined an interview with NBC6.