USDA to investigate death of dog at Cleveland Clinic
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Sarah Treffinger - Plain Dealer Reporter
January 13, 2007

An inspector from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will arrive at the Cleveland Clinic in the next few days to investigate the death of a dog used in a medical demonstration.

USDA spokesman Darby Holladay said the veterinary medical officer, who is responsible for inspecting the Clinic at least once a year, will review records and interview people about the demonstration, which was staged for a manufacturer's salespeople.

"The facility is required to be forthcoming," Holladay said, noting that the Clinic informed the agency on Thursday about the incident.

The Plain Dealer revealed on its Web site Thursday that a neurosurgeon had caused an aneurysm in the brain of a large, mixed-breed dog so that a medical device could be used to treat the condition.

About two-dozen salespeople watched the demonstration Wednesday and at least some participated in a hands-on exercise, a Clinic spokeswoman said. The dog was anesthetized during the procedure and afterward was killed.

The doctor, whom the Clinic has not identified, hosted the training session without permission of the hospital's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

He was not paid for the demonstration, nor does he have financial ties to the company, the spokeswoman said.

The Clinic has begun an internal review of the demonstration, which the spokeswoman said violated hospital policy.

In addition to the USDA and hospital investigations, the Cleveland Animal Protective League has launched an inquiry, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has started a letter-writing campaign.

The Cleveland APL states on its Web site that it "does not support the use of animals for the purpose of demonstrating a medical device for salespersons."

Jed Mignano, the agency's chief humane investigator, said he is gathering facts and seeking witnesses to Wednesday's incident. He noted that an inquiry is the first step toward determining whether the facts would support a full-scale investigation, which PETA has called for.

Shalin Gala, a research associate at PETA, said the organization plans to ask the Clinic to make a "significant financial contribution" to the development of non-animal models for medical procedures.

In addition, Gala sent letters Friday to the executive director of the Ohio medical board and the chairman of the American Board of Neurological Surgeons, asking that the doctor's license be revoked.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:, 216-999-3906

Follow this story: Probe is sought of Cleveland Clinic dog use - 15 Jan 2007

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