Probe is sought of Cleveland Clinic dog use
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Probe is sought of Cleveland Clinic dog use
Animal-rights group seeks USDA check

January 15, 2007
Jesse Tinsley - Plain Dealer Reporter

A Cincinnati-based animal- rights group has asked for a federal investigation into where the Cleveland Clinic gets its research dogs.

The call for a probe comes just days after a Clinic neurosurgeon caused an aneurysm in the brain of an anesthetized dog so that a medical device could be used during a demonstration to treat the condition.

The dog was put down after the demonstration, which was conducted before a group of salespeople, some of whom participated in the procedure last Wednesday, according to a Clinic spokeswoman.

"Documents from the Cleveland Clinic clearly discuss the use of 'mongrel' dogs," Michael Budkie, executive director for the Cincinnati-based Stop Animal Exploitation Now, said in a written statement Sunday.

"Very often this term is a euphemism for dogs that have come from animal shelters."

Not only do shelter dogs make poor research subjects because of their pre-existing medical problems, but those medical problems require additional veterinary care, he said.

That is why the organization is also asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to look into the veterinary care of dogs.

A Cleveland Clinic spokeswoman said the dog came from a "dealer" but did not provide any more details. She said the hospital has long-standing procedures and policies in place on the use and care of its animals.

She also said the Clinic would fully cooperate with any review of the demonstration by the USDA, which oversees animal welfare.

About two dozen salespeople from the manufacturer of the device watched the neurosurgeon's demonstration.

The neurosurgeon had submitted an application to the hospital's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, which reviews requests to work with animals.

The doctor had not heard back from the committee before the demonstration and wrongly assumed it was OK, a Clinic spokeswoman said.

But the spokeswoman said the committee would have rejected the request because it does not allow doctors to use animals for the sole purpose of sales training.

See previous articles about this story from The Plain Dealer:
Dog killed at Cleveland Clinic in the name of medical salesmanship - 13 Jan 2007
USDA to investigate death of dog at Cleveland Clinic - 01/13/07

For detailed information about this issue, and more about the Cleveland Clinic, please visit: Facility Reports and Information about the Cleveland Clinic Foundation (

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