Trial begins in case against All Creatures Veterinary Center

All Creatures Veterinary Center in Newhall.

A trial began Monday in the case of a veterinarian accused in multiple complaints of negligence and unprofessional conduct stretching back several years, regarding animal care and record-keeping at facilities located in Canyon Country, Newhall and Lancaster.

In a trial expected to last until Oct. 2, more than a dozen animal owners are expected to testify about how their animals were treated under the care of Dr. Balpal Sandhu, who operates AV Veterinary Center in Lancaster; All Creatures Veterinary Center in Newhall; and Canyon Country Veterinary Hospital.

Alleged discrepancies in the clinics’ federally mandated logs for drug management, such as using Post-It notes to track drug dispensation at the clinics, were the focus of Monday’s testimony from expert witnesses. The record-keeping issue was noted by at least two experts, including the first to testify, Dr. James Howard, a veterinarian who trains inspectors for the California Veterinary Medical Board. 

The latest complaint comes after Sandhu was placed on probation 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.

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 in a previous interview. “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 attorney general’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.

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