SINGAPORE: The authorities are looking into a case involving two nurses from Ohana VetCare, a pet clinic in Pasir Ris, here, which has also been hit by customer cancellations after videos of the staff misbehaving emerged this week.
The nurses have been suspended indefinitely, and the clinic’s founders told TODAY that they have not decided what to do with them, given the public outcry.
The nurses had posted these videos on their Instagram accounts. One shows a nurse appearing to mock a cat that had undergone surgery on its ears, while another shows a nurse filling up castrated animal testicles with an unknown liquid and playing with them.
In response to TODAY’s queries, the Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS), a cluster of the National Parks Board, said on Thursday that it is aware of the incident.
“The veterinary profession is expected to perform their duties to the highest standard and also ensure their staff do so. The behaviour of the nurses as seen in the videos raises questions on their professionalism, and AVS is looking into this case,” Dr Chua Tze Hoong, AVS’ group director, said.
The founders of Ohana VetCare said they have suspended the nurses indefinitely.
“When, or if, they come back it would probably be administrative roles instead (of working with animals),” Dr Francis Tay, 46, one of the co-founders, said. “But there is just too much to deal with right now.”
The veterinary clinic has seen 10 cancellations and received numerous threats since the videos emerged, its other co-founder, Dr Ong Wei Jun, said.
There have also been numerous calls for the staff involved to be fired, but the founders have stood by their decision in suspending the perpetrators.
“We don’t feel comfortable with just abandoning them (the two nurses) at this point of time,” Dr Ong said.
“We definitely don’t condone their actions and behaviour but ultimately, we set out to open this place as a family environment and we are not prepared to let them fend for themselves at this point of time.
“We truly believe they deserve a second chance to right this.”
The clinic has since called up the owners of the affected pets and apologised to them.
The two nurses, who are in their early 20s, are remorseful of their actions, said the founders.
The clinic said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that the nurses’ actions are “wholly inappropriate” for people working in veterinary care.
“These actions do not reflect the clinic’s standards nor any of our other employees’ standards. We have a strict policy of treating each and every patient with respect,” the clinic said.
The post has since garnered over 100 shares and almost 650 comments in a day, some of which were scathing.
Animal advocates who spoke to TODAY condemned the actions of the nurses but were split on whether the clinic’s response was adequate.
Sharon Oh, a veteran dog rescuer, said that the whole practice should be suspended.
“When I find injured dogs and need to find the nearest vet, even if I am near them, I would not want anything to do with them,” she said.
Derrick Tan, president of Voices for Animals, said: “Coming from an animal welfare group, I think there should be respect given to these animals. The cat’s ears are sealed up and it is like mocking someone who is deaf. It is very insensitive.”
However, Tan believes that the nurses deserve a second chance.
He said: “We shouldn’t force the clinic to terminate them. We are only seeing one side of the story and we don’t know what else they have done (for animals).” – Today Online
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