In June, an Arizona veterinarian was accused of punching a chihuahua named Bella. He allegedly hit Bella 3-5 times in the head causing her eye to dislodge. Two veterinary technicians witnessed and reported the incident. The vet, Dr. Joshua Winston, denied all charges.
In an update to the story, a grand jury issued the vet’s indictment on June 29. Winston was charged with one count of animal abuse, a felony, and one count of misdemeanor theft. The theft charges comes from a separate incident earlier in the year. Winston was supposed to vaccinate a dog, but he allegedly put the medication down the sink instead of vaccinating the dog. He charged the owner $80 for the vaccination.
The Arizona State Veterinary Examining Board and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.
“These allegations are very disturbing, especially against a veterinarian,” said Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas. “People who entrust their pets to veterinarians have every right to expect good medical care, not vicious abuse.”
“We will aggressively prosecute this case,” Thomas said at the conference.
Meanwhile, Winston still has his supporters. Some patients of his still stand behind him and don’t believe that he did punch the dog.
Jean Steenbock, a customer of Winston’s, said, “I’m very disappointed.”
“I had hoped that if he could tell his side of the story things would have turned out differently,” Steenbock said.
Steenbock has a 14-year-old Bichon she needs euthanized and said she was planning to have Winston perform the procedure.
â€œAs long as Joshua Winston is a vet practicing out here, I will continue to use him,â€ Steenbock said.