PATHCHOGUE, NY — A Long Island man was “heartbroken” when he took his beloved eight-year-old dog to a veterinarian suspecting a routine ear infection, only for the visit to eventually result in the dog’s death, he says.
William Watkins filed a consumer fraud class-action lawsuit in Suffolk County Superior Court this week, alleging that veterinarian Eva Armfield of Patchogue Animal Hospital defrauded pet owners by using unlicensed staff to administer medication to pets.
The lawsuit alleges that Armfield “illegally operated on and anesthetized pets for years without using licensed veterinarians or a veterinarian to oversee the procedures.”
In August 2020, Watkins brought Taro, a female Blue Nose Terrier, to the Medford Ave Veterinary Hospital for an ear infection. 214 in Patchogue. Hours later, Watkins and his attorney, Susan Chana Lask, said two employees returned the dog’s “unconscious and paralyzed body” to him and did not provide additional testing or treatment to save the dog’s life, according to the complaint.
Lask, who has her own law firm based in New York City, writes that Armfield “paid young 20-year-old secretaries minimum wage to perform [veterinary] Procedures, including dental procedures, while the animals were under anesthesia, monitoring vital signs, and dispensing medication, in addition to being forced to attend to Dr. Armfield’s lawn to rake leaves and babysit their children.
“Dr. Armfield was too cheap to pay the licensed vets required by law, resulting in pets suffering and dying and destroying the lives of their owners, who she also billed for her unlawful surgery, which should be shut down,” she said.
Lask also alleges that after the New York Post published an article about Watkin’s lawsuit last week, Patchogue Animal Hospital removed a page on its website promoting licensed veterinary technicians, which Lask said was a fictional and fraudulent claim.
The lawsuit alleges that after Taros’ death, staff at the clinic stated the following:
“Defendants do not hire licensed technicians for the procedures Defendants promote and perform; Defendants’ employees are assistants/receptionists who share all responsibilities at the hospital but are not certified, have no veterinary experience, and have not completed any animal health or science courses; allow the defendants to distribute medication, supervise surgeries, take x-rays, perform dental procedures while animals are under anesthesia, and supervise anesthesia and other life support monitors without experience or training and without the supervision of a licensed veterinarian; during euthanasia proceedings, suspects failing to allow the sedation to take effect fully before injecting Euthasol (the drug that shuts down the heart, organs and bodily functions), causing the animal to become distressed in its final moments; and Defendants do not adequately train staff and allow them to perform at their best dangerous procedures on animals under sedation without being licensed to do so.”
Lask tells Patch that she was briefed by numerous ex-Armfield employees about a range of troubling behaviors at the clinic, including a cat left to die alone and staff being forced to scrub plastic bottles with labels for illegal reuse .
The lawsuit involves an independent veterinarian’s review of the medications prescribed for Waktin’s dog, who said they were “medically inappropriate.”
“Taro came into the clinic with an ear infection, and Dr. Armfield brought her back to me paralyzed and then refused to help me or Taro until Taro died. My best friend has passed away and I am forever heartbroken by Armfield’s horrific mistreatment. ‘ says Watkins.
dr Armfield did not respond to requests for comment.
Watkins and his attorney hope this lawsuit will ensure Armfield’s practice is closed so no more animals are harmed.