Authorities and San Pedro Animal Hospital at odds
Saturday, March 28th, 2015
Since 2009, the San Pedro Animal Hospital has been providing private medical care to island pets. But that may no longer be the case, as Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and co-owner of the San Pedro Animal Hospital, Laurie Droke’s license may not be renewed for 2015. This is because the Belize Veterinary Association, Veterinary Surgeons Board and Belize Agricultural Health Authority (BAHA) are looking into some complaints about the establishment and debating on whether to renew Droke’s license and permits to operate.
According to Droke, she applied for the renewal of her license back in December 2014 but still has not received confirmation on the status of her veterinary license. Droke also indicated that she has failed to obtain permits from BAHA for the importation of controlled drugs such as analgesics, anesthetics and euthanasia solutions. “Basically I have been having trouble for some time now in acquiring permits to import essential medications needed to have the clinic operational. Also, I have not received any response regarding the renewal of my veterinary license. We have been paying our dues yearly, but have not received anything in writing from them. Most recently I heard rumors that the board will be refusing to renew my license for this year,” said Droke.
The San Pedro Animal Hospital is the only private veterinary clinic on the island and provides a full range of 24 hour medical services. Droke has indicated that if her license and permits are not renewed, she will be forced to close down the clinic. “Unless this situation unexpectedly changes, San Pedro Animal Hospital will close its doors by the end of the year, when our current veterinarian is scheduled to return home and our current supplies will be exhausted. I have been writing to the all the relevant authorities but have not received any response. We hope we can get through with our permits and licenses, we are willing to do anything. The clinic is needed here on the island,” said Droke.
The San Pedro Sun spoke with Doctor Miguel DePaz- Chief Veterinarian Officer, Director of Animal Health at BAHA and Chairman of the Veterinary Surgeons Board – who stated that the board has several issues with the San Pedro Animal Hospital and Droke; as such they have not re-registered her license. “We have not re-registered Droke because the board has issues with her. The re-registration is not automatic, and if we have complaints about the business, we have to consider whether we will continue to allow them to operate. We have at least two serious complaints about the San Pedro Animal Hospital. These are documented and we need to address them with the veterinarian before we decide to re-register her,” said DePaz.
DePaz stated that along with the complaints, there are other issues preventing Droke’s re-registration. “One of the major problems with the San Pedro Animal Hospital is that we are aware that Droke is not permanently residing in Belize. So the question we have to ask ourselves is, ‘who is running the clinic when she is away?’ We understand that she has volunteer veterinarians that come every so often, but if she is not here, then who is supervising them? These veterinarians that come from abroad just to work for a period of time cannot legally practice without a DVM that has been licensed in Belize supervising them. So there is more than one issue with Droke, and so the board needs some clarification with her before we can made a decision,” said DePaz.
According to DePaz, due to other more pressing matters within the organization, they have failed to communicate the reasons as to why Droke’s license has not be approved. But an official letter is tentatively scheduled to be issued to Droke requesting an interview to discuss the issues and the re-registration of her veterinary license.
The San Pedro Sun will continue to follow this development.
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