If the people of Guam cannot help me, then my business will be forced to shut down and I will leave the island I have come to love and call “home.”
My business, Wise Owl Animal Hospital, has been involved deeply in the community. Initially, I put in many volunteer hours at GAIN, and now help the Guam SPCA (the alternative shelter/Humane Society). I employ over 30 people, and 18 of these employees are single parents.
Ever since I opened my business five years ago, I have been under attack by those who control the dispersal of Veterinary licenses. Specifically, the Guam Board of Allied Health. I have endured one court trial – which GBAH had to cease, as their lawyer even had to admit they had no case. The Superior Court of Guam told GBAH that their case had “insurmountable problems” because they violated the Open Government law of Guam - which is a crime (misdemeanor) against the people of Guam. Additionally the court stated GBAH violated my civil rights, due process of law, and their case was terminally faulty.
GBAH made it clear that the only compromise they would accept - as stated by GBAH’s Board chairperson Sybil Crisostomo, was: “that I cease and desist practicing Veterinary Medicine forever, and leave the island.” This has been documented by a court official.
I was then attacked on every Wise Owl advertisement. GBAH tried to take my veterinary license away because they did not like my ads. GBAH could not win on any of these attempts and dropped them all when faced with proper legal opposition. However, they succeeded in their goal of costing me legal fees, and taking time away from healing and treating my patients.
GBAH then attempted an administration/disciplinary hearing against me. I was charged with numerous frivolous crimes. I was charged with illegal ear cropping even though every other vet was doing the same. It is an admitted fact (under oath) that the GovGuam territorial veterinarian Dr. Thomas Poole informed all the other vets on Guam that he suddenly considered ear cropping illegal; and sent them all an unofficial letter regarding this. I was sent a different (official) letter. Even the GBAH had to clear me of this fallacy. I was charged with distributing a controlled drug (rabies vaccine). Dr. Poole, the GovGuam Vet, stated under oath that rabies vaccines are a controlled drug. GBAH had to dismiss the charge since rabies vaccines are not a controlled drug anywhere in the United States, including Guam, and there was no receipt or credible witness that could testify that it happened.
After this first hearing, GBAH convicted me and tried to remove my license, but this was overturned by the Superior Court of Guam, again. The court stated that GBAH violated the open government laws of Guam (again, a misdemeanor offense), and threw out all that GBAH had done.
GBAH then attempted a second administrative/disciplinary hearing. They charged me with more frivolous items. I was charged with stalking Dr. Harper even though under oath, Dr. Harper stated she was never at the places I was supposed to be stalking her at. I was charged with talking rudely to several of the veterinarians when they would not release client records to me. I was charged with not giving up a medical record even though the GBAH lawyer had previously determined that the person requesting the record did not even own the dog, and therefore, could not legally be given the records. What was really ridiculous was convicting me for not knowing a leg was broken, based upon a set of X-rays that was never provided to me for examination.
The hearing chairperson Maime Balajadia and Dr. Poole, had the supposed X-rays in their hands and refused to turn them over. The X-rays had been subpoenaed and a motion to force production of them was ignored. Not one member of the hearing committee ever got to look at the X-Rays. The Superior Court of Guam ruled that GBAH violated the most basic rules of evidence, violated the Open Government law, and that I had received an “unfair trial.” I have even been awarded court costs that the people of Guam must now pay.
I have worked within the system and had a law introduced, sent to committee and a public hearing, and finally passed by the Guam legislature. The law was solely to have term limits on members of GBAH. It should be recognized that a board with no term limits has never worked. Though there is continuity, there is a much greater danger of abuse. How can a group of people with so much conflict of interest be allowed to determine who should stay and who should not be allowed to conduct business in the varied medical fields. Common sense will tell you that an “objective board” is the only way to do things fairly. There are many qualified people to provide all the necessary advice to a fair and objective board.
So I am asking the good people of Guam to stop this corruption. This is our government. These corruption costs are costing the people of Guam their hard earned money – our hard earned money!
Dr. Joel Joseph DVM
Wise Owl Animal Hospital