Veterinarian for Humane Society of St. Lucie County arrested for DUI, hit-and-run after botching dog’s surgery
St Lucie County, Fl (treasurecoast.com) -A veterinarian for the Humane Society of St. Lucie County has been charged with DUI and hit-and-run after investigators say she also botched a routine surgery to spay a dog.
The dog was euthanized as a result.
The dog’s owner now questions whether the veterinarian, Dr. Julia Sheehan, was also under the influence of a substance during the surgery or having a health emergency.
According to a witness statement from the staff at the Veterinary Medical Center, they struggled to get the dog out of the car, saying that its head was twisted, and its body was almost entirely under the driver’s seat, with its body still open from surgery. The dog was semi-conscious and had chewed on its tube. The witness said Dr. Sheehan at first did not speak and appeared panicked and “mentally vacant.”
After examining Maisie, the emergency vet reported to police that the dog’s uterus and ovaries were untouched, but the dog’s intestines had been damaged.
Police first responded to the Veterinary Medical Center because Dr. Sheehan’s vehicle was a suspect vehicle in two hit-and-runs along the route from the Humane Society of St. Lucie County to the Veterinary Medical Center.
She failed a field sobriety test, and according to the police report, refused a breath and urine test.
She was arrested for DUI and hit-and-run.
According to witness statements, Dr. Sheehan had been acting strange during the surgery.
Witness statements also show Dr. Sheehan told staff that day she was feeling tired, and multiple staff members reported her seeming tired and puffy-eyed. She requested to cancel two other appointments she had but was going to finish the spay for Maisie since the dog was already sedated and she had begun the incision, according to witness statements.
Court records show Sheehan was charged and sentenced in 2019 for DUI.
The Executive Director of the Humane Society of St. Lucie County said Dr. Sheehan has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation.