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Thomas Dock, CVJ, Vet. Technician  
Male, 49
Indianapolis, IN

Interests: animals, Reading (sci-fi and fantasy)
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Man Poses as DVM, works for USDA.

Feb 19, 2010 - 2 comments
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USDA

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man poses as vet



This story was forwarded to me today and it really causes me no end of concern!!

http://www.wsbtv.com/video/22526579/

In this story, a man posed as a veterinarian for many years and ended up working for our own USDA, inspecting our meat and the facilities where food is processed.  He also supervised several employees.

Two private firms had uncovered his lack of education, but somehow this slipped by the USDA.  According to the news story, the USDA even ignored a whistleblower until the news reporter showed up at their offices asking questions about this guy.

So, for me there are really two big issues here.  First, that this guy has the guts to pose as a veterinarian and then assume he is qualified to do inspections.  I have to wonder what he missed and if the public was ever at risk.

Second, this sort of blatant oversight is not restoring my faith in our government agencies and it is certainly not a positive reason that our federal government needs to grow even more!

I am so happy that I am part of several organizations that will help to eliminate these kinds of issues.  First, the American Society of Veterinary Journalism (ASVJ) has started to credential and certify individuals who provide animal health stories in the news or on websites.  Soon, you will be able to look for the Seal of Approval from the ASVJ (like the Seal of Approval for meteorologists) and for the credentials, Certified Veterinary Journalist (CVJ) after their name.

Also, the Veterinary News Network and PetDocsOnCall.com are offering pet owners up to date and trustworthy pet health information.

What do you think?  Does the USDA have any sort of excuse or defense?  What about the individual who posed as a veterinarian...how should he be punished?

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by Arnold L Goldman, D.V.M.Blank, Feb 20, 2010
In my opinion, the answer to your questions are, it depends.

If the USDA relied on information generally provided by others, such as transcripts or copies of diplomas or state licenses, was there an appropriate process used to verify their authenticity? Were the people who assessed these documents using the process set up to do so, and were they qualified to do so? Also, it is plausible that the documents were inauthentic, but that the forgeries were so sophisticated that it was not reasonable for an agency not associated with law enforcement or counter-intelligence to have the skill to discern them. It does seem to be an unusual skill set to attempt to mimic, and an unusual agency to infiltrate. At a minimum, their process has to change.

Assuming no one was injured by the individuals actions, his punishment should be to have to continue to do his present "job" as a form of community service, every evening for 10 years, but for no pay. I don't even want to know what his performance reviews were, or how they compared to our real colleagues doing the same job!

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