Protect New Jersey's Dogs and Cats with Jack's Law
  • Petitioning Senator Loretta Weinberg

This petition will be delivered to:

Senator Loretta Weinberg
Senator Dawn Marie Addiego
Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande
Senator Christopher Connors
Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan Jr.
Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin
Assemblyman Reed Gusciora
Senator James W. Holzapfel
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle
Senator Tom Kean
Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer
Senator Jeff Van Drew
Assemblyman David W. Wolfe
President, NJ Veterinary Medical Association
Dr. Ian Driben
Executive Director, New Jersey State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners
Jonathan Eisenmenger
Assemblywoman Connie Wagner
Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson
Assemblyman Nelson T. Albano
Assemblyman Scott Rudder
Assemblyman Matthew W. Milam
New Jersey State House
New Jersey State Senate

Protect New Jersey's Dogs and Cats with Jack's Law

    1. barbara tunick
    2. Petition by

      barbara tunick

      Teaneck, United States

Jack's Law would help save the lives of more than 500,000 dogs and cats in New Jersey by restricting the responsibilities of recent veterinary school graduates and require interns to be supervised — in person — by experienced veterinarians, especially in critical care situations. It would also require veterinary hospitals be transparent and honest to consumers about exactly who treats the animals left in their care. 

Currently there are no laws in New Jersey prohibiting a recent veterinary school graduate from being the sole medical provider in a hospital setting — even in a critical care unit. In New Jersey, an intern works under a veterinarian’s license. However, the licensed veterinarian is not required to be present when the intern is working, or to personally supervise him or her. When we take our dogs and cats to veterinary hospitals, we should be able to trust that the people caring for our loved ones are experienced professionals.

Eighteen months ago, I lost my incredibly loved and irreplaceable collie, Jack. Jack died in Red Bank Veterinary Hospital (RBVH) as the result of being left overnight in the Critical Care Unit under the unsupervised care of an inexperienced and incompetent intern. 

It was only after Jack died that I learned that the sole medical provider caring for him in the CCU had just graduated from veterinary school two months earlier and had only been working as a "veterinarian" for less than two weeks. In fact, she had not even passed the state exam or received a license from the state.

Jack died because the intern who was supposed to be taking care of him wasn't paying attention or because of her inexperience, she just didn't know how to help him. For nearly 13 years I kept Jack healthy, happy and strong despite the fact that he was born with a megaesophagus which required continual observation and care. All of that was destroyed with one lie, one intern and one irreversible mistake.

In short, Jack had a feeding tube surgically inserted into his abdomen at RBVH. This was to be a temporary measure to help him recover from a serious bout of esophagitis. The surgery was deemed a success. Both the surgeon and admitting veterinarian were so pleased with his progress that they told my husband and me that we could take him home the next morning. In fact, when we saw Jack twice that afternoon, he was alert and coherent. He immediately recognized us and kissed my face. His temperature and breathing were normal. Jack looked so well, we went home—confident that he was being cared for properly and professionally. But by 9 p.m., while under the unsupervised care of the intern, Jack aspirated. By morning, Jack's condition had dramatically deteriorated. He had a raging fever and needed oxygen to breathe. Instead of bringing him home, we buried Jack alongside  his brother in Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, the very next day. 

For most of us who share our lives with dogs and/or cats, our four legged friends are much more than pets—they are members of our family. We love them, care for them and do our very best to protect them. That's the only reason we went to RBVH. It was supposed to provide exemplary surgical and post-operative care. What makes Jack's death even more devastating is the fact that it was completely avoidable. When I told the admitting veterinarian how concerned I was about leaving him in the care of an inexperienced vet tech, she promised to put him in the CCU where he would be kept under the constant, careful supervision of a veterinarian. Had I known that the "veterinarian" had just graduated two months earlier and had only been practicing as a vet for two weeks, I never would have left him there.

Unbelievably, there's nothing to prevent what happened to Jack from happening again. While there are no statistics to quote, I called all the emergency hospitals listed on the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association's website and most of them hire interns. Who knows how many unsupervised interns have made similar critical mistakes. 

Jack was an incredible soul. He made everyone around him feel happy and loved. He was intelligent, funny and beautiful. He was so much more than that. I am heartbroken and will miss him forever. It is unforgivable that Jack died because I wasn't told the truth. It would be unconscionable to allow others to die simply because nothing was done to change that awful truth.

I hope that with your help, we can save other families and their beloved dogs and cats from similar heartache. Please do not let Jack's death be in vain.

Thank you very, very much.

 

 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Three years ago today...

      barbara tunick
      Petition Organizer

      Three years ago today, I lost my beautiful Jack. He was an incredible soul. Jack died in Red Bank Veterinary Hospital (RBVH) as the result of being left overnight in the CCU under the unsupervised care of an inexperienced and incompetent intern. We later learned the intern had just graduated that May, and had only been working as a "vet" for less than three weeks when she was left alone to care for Jack -- and all the other dogs and cats in the CCU that weekend.
      I'm sure some of you have seen the latest feel-good, sad dog story trending online and on the news.. the one where a girl has her dog's last day photographed by a friend.. They go to a water park and eat hamburgers and have a beautiful day together before he is euthanized for inoperable cancer. It's a lovely story because she made sure her dog had a "good death," a happy last day and in the end, she was right there by his side and he was surrounded by love and family.
      Jack didn't die that way. He died needlessly, painfully and heartbreakingly, alone-- without Melo and me-- the two people he loved most in this world. We weren't allowed to see him until he literally took his last breath on a cold, metal gurney with a huge clip hanging from his tongue. Jack died because of the sheer and utter incompetence of a stupid kid who shouldn't have had the responsibility of being left alone to care for a room filled with critically ill dogs and cats, and mostly because Red Bank Veterinary Hospital lied to us. They told us that Jack would be cared for by a vet in the CCU overnight. The intern who killed Jack, didn't even get her NJ certification for more than six months after he died! If we had been told the truth about who would be caring for him, we never would have left him there.
      And sadly, frighteningly, there are no laws in NJ that could prevent what happened to Jack, from happening again. There are no laws prohibiting a recent graduate from being the sole medical provider — even in a CCU. In NJ, an intern works under a veterinarian’s license. However, the vet is not required to be present when the intern is working, or to personally supervise him or her. When we take our dogs and cats to the hospital, we should be able to trust that the people caring for them are experienced professionals.
      I love my Jack and I miss him every day, but there's nothing I can do to help him anymore. That's why I started this petition on Change.org to try help save the lives of the more than 500,000 dogs and cats in NJ by restricting the responsibilities of recent veterinary school graduates and require that they be supervised — in person — by experienced veterinarians, especially in critical care situations. It would also require veterinary hospitals be transparent and honest to consumers about exactly who treats the animals left in their care.
      Please help save the lives of NJ's dogs and cats while honoring my beautiful Jack by signing my petition and forwarding it to your friends and family. (You don't need to live in NJ to sign it.)
      Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
      Bxo

    2. Reached 1,000 signatures
    3. Dogfest 2013

      barbara tunick
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you to everyone who came to Dogfest 2013 and signed Jack's Law Petition! I met some very special people who care deeply about the health and welfare of all our beloved dogs and cats. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.
      Always,
      B...
      https://www.facebook.com/events/623780090965442/

    4. Reached 750 signatures
    5. Reached 250 signatures
    6. Please "Like" Jack's Law on Facebook

      barbara tunick
      Petition Organizer
      Jack's Law

      Jack was an incredible soul. He was the most remarkable, intuitive, intelligent and loving dog I...

    7. Reached 5 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Shawn Halleran JACKSON, NJ
      • about 1 month ago

      Have pets.....

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • susan martin CENTRAL SQUARE, NY
      • 2 months ago

      No one should loose their beloved pet in this manner!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Susan Roth DENVILLE, UNITED STATES
      • 2 months ago

      Just like new human physicians are supervised, new vets should also be supervised!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Glenn Veltman LOWELL TWP., MI
      • 2 months ago

      To people who don't have a dog or cat... it's JUST a DOG or JUST a CAT... but for people who do have a dog or cat... it's OUR CHILD... they are OUR CHILDREN!!!!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
      • 2 months ago

      Love and respect for ALL LIVE

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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