The Death of Bonita

Sad to say, BF now has one less of the Victory Dogs. A pit named Bonita needed some dental work. To save some much needed time, the BF clinic skipped the pre-surgical tests which check for any indications of problems.

With our pets, before the first time they get anesthesia the vet will do an exam and run tests to see if there is a strong indication of an adverse reaction. This time, BF just didn’t bother to do it, and the dog died. The pre-surgical anesthesia blood panel was skipped.

And, yesterday:

BF tried keeping this a secret, but it came out on their forums. BF then posted a news article with their spin. According to that,

“Best Friends’ Medical Director Dr. Michael Dix said, “I can’t even tell you how many physical exams we’ve done on Bonita in the last six months.” Between the blood work, the x-rays, and the physicals, she was no stranger to the clinic. Yet aside from the fact her weight never really increased, she proved healthy in all the exams and blood work.”

Now, if he had said they did check but then it went bad, then this would be a he-said/she-said. However, they went too far as usual. Either he is lying about those last six months, or else this dog got a lot of care while another one dying in pain was being ignored. That other dog lost one-half her body weight, and they ignored it. I know of other cases, including a ripped claw that had to wait days for treatment because the vet doesn’t do anesthesia when working on a holliday. (No, of course that makes no sense, but it’s BF.)

And, of course, the BF Staff Cheerleaders responded to start off the “nice” comments.

People are running around at Best Friends Animal Society today. First BF tried to hide the death of Bonita, one of the Vicktory Pits there who wasn’t screened for anesthesia reaction before dental work. When this appeared on several forums, BF explained all in an article including all the blood tests that she’s had in the past. But, people noticed there was nothing about an anesthesia panel said then, or later.

Bonita – A Very Special Life

Vicktory Dog Goes Home

Many of the comments are from the BF Staff Cheerleaders, but a few are from “real” people and other donors have started taking notice.

Enough calls started coming in that BF had to pull some people off other duties to answer them all. And they prepared “scripts” with exactly how to answer the questions. To just say there were “blood tests” but no more details and no direct answers. BF staff were warned to say nothing to nobody unless it’s in a script.

Sadly, this is only the latest and not the worst such story.


About exfriender

An animal lover and one of many "exfrienders" who previously supported Best Friends Animal Society.
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7 Responses to The Death of Bonita

  1. exfriender says:

    By ForTheAnimals on February 17, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    The number of responses on all this has caught me by surprise. The issue on Bonita the Vicktory dog’s death has continued to grow. It looks like a BF staffer (kittylove) and an ex-BF staffer (exfriender) got together to get the news out. Yesterday this was big and today the calls to BF have just continued.

    Many, many people have followed the history of this dog. Comparing this to previous donor issues with BF, it now appears that this one has set a financial record in lost donations. and just continues.

    All that BF had to do was state that Bonita had received the pre-surgical anesthesia blood panels, but they did not and probably cannot say that. Reports from BF say that many people there are calling “kitty” (kittylove) their hero as finally somebody has had the guts to speak the truth.

    The National Geo filming schedule was just changed, to instead focus on more scenes with the Vicktory Pits to try and counter the bad publicity.

    Being convinced that she’s on their staff, BF has stopped deleting her userID, instead hoping that she will make some slip that allows them to figure out who it is. They are afraid that even more may come out.

    Previously, unlike on their forums, BF was not able to delete any of the entries on a News article without deleting the entire article. However, they have just figured out how to delete all but the top page, so many of the posts will soon be gone. This has already happened in some other areas.

  2. exfriender says:

    By ForTheAnimals on February 18, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    On February 18, a “news” article appeared in the local Southern Utah News about Bonita’s death. Saying about the same as the BF posting and talking about “blood tests” without any mention of a pre-surgical anesthesia blood panel.

    And, the below just appeared in the BF news blog on Bonita. The name “Faith” is well known at BF and only the ex-CEO Berry invoked such feelings from people working there. And, the phones at BF are still ringing…

    February 18, 2009 : 8:02 PM ET
    posted by: BewareTheFaith

    February 18, 2009 : 9:33 AM ET posted by: homeagain
    “If Best Friends did the proper testing, why won’t they say so? It is really upsetting that they do not answer this question no matter how many times it has been asked. An answer would put an end to all the talk here about it.”

    A very good question, but what if they have the “wrong” answer? And please be careful, dear Kitty. Wipe your browser history. BF is checking every computer there for any sign of you. I’m sending this from home. Beware the Army of the Faith Full, as she will stop at nothing.

    The Computer Jockeys at BF are now working overtime, between trying to get more control over the forums and checking all of the computers there for any trace of “kitty”. That comment in the above post was later confirmed from direct sources.

  3. exfriender says:

    On the BF News Blog, after about 11 pages of discussion, debate and ranting, one BF donor gave a concerted reply:

    February 19, 2009 : 12:15 PM ET
    posted by: MartinBrennan

    This appears to be a blog about the Victory Pit, Bonita. About her life, her death and what we can learn from it. Anything else would be off-topic. Yes, I feel for the 150 dogs in NC and agree with your petition. I also feel for the thousands of dogs that are being turned out into the streets as homes are foreclosed and for all of the small shelters that are overwhelmed. Something that will continue and grow in size. Something that is happening now, just lacking the publicity of the Vicktory Pits.

    No, I do not wish to celebrate Bonita’s death, but to learn from it. I called into BF with the questions raised here and was not satisfied with their answers. I then asked about the Sanctuary, the capacity, the number of dogs there last year and the current numbers. There were no clear answers. Previously, I had supported BF’s approach towards laws and education as the best long-term approach to the problem. However, now and for the next few years we are in a unique economic situation that is rapidly worsening. Until this ends, little can be done for those 150 dogs or thousands of others unless we supply the resources to directly intervene. In this, BF has refused, as they recently did with the Carrol Crocker dogs. Just as a public company is responsible to their shareholders, BF has an even greater responsibility to their donors. As donors, I and my friends will respond.

    As for the issue of trust, I have already spoken here about Bonita. Comments elsewhere in these forums have mentioned the large and growing number of empty dog runs at BF and accelerated adoptions without home checks. Again there appear to be no clear answers, but indications from recent adopters and visitors that these were true statements. Between deleted posts in forums here and mailing lists elsewhere many other issues have been raised and I have yet to find a single one proven wrong. Regrettably, I must place the current BF actions in a similar class to Lehman Bros. and Bernard Madoff and respond to this in the only way available to me as a donor.

    I have had my say and will not return. I expect to be dismissed, ridiculed and accused of being yet another “fantasy” identity, but that does not concern me. I say only that you should take my words, then seek out your own facts and make your own decision. As for my decision, two local shelters will now survive. With even one-half of the current revenue of BF, HSUS and others, many more may be saved and these organizations will yet survive. It is you, the donors, who will make this decision.

  4. exfriender says:

    By ForTheAnimals on February 26, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    On the Best Friends news forums, A Very Special Life told about the death of the Vicktory Pit, bonita. After many pages of comments, it appears that BF contacted a network member who was a physician and asked him to help them out. HOWEVER, BF never considered that yet another physician might just respond to his nonsense.

    Read here or on the forums, the nonsense from Dr. Eyre, and the reply from Dr. Rice.

    A Very Special Life

    Dr. Eyre had posted occasionally on the BF forums for several years. He had made an earlier remark on this blog that might have been taken as critical of BF. Apparently, BF then called him and asked for his support.

    February 22, 2009 : 11:53 PM ET
    posted by: John_T_Eyre_MD

    My heart is breaking and I’m all teared up every time I think of Dear Bonita who’s life was so horrible before BF rescued her. Then her time in the sun was so short before an unexpected anesthesia related death.

    I just jumped in without reading the preceeding vitriol. What goes around , comes around. Maybe the finger pointers have justifiable anger for who-knows-what unkindnesses as ex-employees. And it would not surprize if chatty/catty /patty have been put on the defensive.

    It appears that Bonita had reams of blood tests and other clinical evaluations. The vets are obviously wonderful people. There’s no blame here, but my sobbing heart will still not be still. I KNOW HOW TO FIX THIS ! I’VE BEEN THERE AND DONE THAT WITH ANESTHESIA FOR DOGS.

    There are thousands of ways for anesthesia to go sour. That’s why it’s a medical speciality in human healthcare [frequently a sub-speciality for pulmonary, cardiac, neuro etc.]. These people do nothing else for their whole careers. They have superb equipment and superb brains focused on only one thing – what is the safest and LEAST invasive way to make this planned procedure possible. The first thing an anesthesiologist will tell you is “Let there be NO anesthesia if there is any alternative way to treat the problem at hand. Let there be NO general anesthesia if local anesthesia or light sedation can suffice. Propophol is a miracle drug which is instanly reversable and which can be titrated up and down in a matter of seconds if pCO2 starts moving in an unfavorable direction.

    I’m not an expert but I hang out with anesthesiologists a lot and know their minds pretty well. “Let not the complexity of the solution exceed the importance of the problem”. Vets, Dentists, and even most MD’s including most radiologists have little understanding how dangerous this shit is. And yet they repeatedly use it for relatively trivial reason, not recognizing that 1-2% of their anesthesia or deep sedation patients DIE, never recognizing that in the hands of a real anesthesiologist that number is closer to 0.0015% – 100 TIMES SAFER !

    My evil twin 10-15 years ago was a breeder of German Shepherds. He insisted in all adoption agreements that among many other things, they would brush their new furry kids teeth 3 times a week. Despite that many adoptive human stewards [even those with post grad degrees] would instead have teeth cleaning by their Vet every year or so. “Well my Vet said it would be OK.” Out of 72 innocent sweeties in 68 otherwise optimal homes, 3 died from anesthetic compications for teeth cleaning. I’m intimately familiar with dozens of other doggy deaths from anesthesia from Vets AND from non-anesthesiologist MD’s operating on their own dogs. I weep every time. I forwarned half of them.

    I know Bonita would be a particulary difficult case, but I’ve managed to train many strong alpha German Shepherds to accept tooth brushing from me [a stranger], when their adoptive family had dropped the ball for several years. Once tooth brushing is accepted 3 times a week, it’s then many tiny steps to full-bore dental hygiene, making anesthesia never needed for dental reasons or even Xrays if the dogs tooth brushing adoptive parent/trainer is there to help the sweetie accept positioning for films. “Let not the complexity . .

    And then the response from another doctor:

    February 24, 2009 : 10:11 PM ET
    posted by: DrPhillipRice

    This is in reply to Dr Eyre’s last posting. Dr Eyre, I too am a retired physician. I am a bit disappointed in what you said in your last posting. You have obviously been in touch with Best Friends and have bought into their propaganda. As you and I both know, there are many different kinds of blood tests. Bonita may have had “reams of blood tests”, but if she did not have the proper pre-surgical tests then having reams of other tests does not matter. It seems to me to be quite clear that if Best Friends had given Bonita the proper tests before the dental, they would have long since said so. The fact that they have NOT said so speaks for itself. I am not saying that Bonita died because she did not have the correct tests done but only that her chances would have been better had the correct tests been done.

    As far as Pattycatty/Chattykatty is concerned, she accuses others of using more than one name, something she has done too and has even admitted to doing. I have seen her remove posts, on forums, of anyone she does not like. She even accused you of not being a real doctor and being someone else. Your first post could have been taken as being negative towards Best Friends and she was quick to be critical of you. Frankly, after reading her posts, I see her as a petty dictator at best. According to what I read here, on this website, Best Friends has done many good things but also many bad things. Nothing is all good or all bad.

  5. taylor radcliff says:

    Here is something that I don’t think many people know about:
    A couple of months ago, a pitbull named BoBo, a Best Friends dog, was adopted out to a local Kanab family. There was a BIG network story about how wonderful the family was, and how happy BoBo was, etc. etc. (Many pictures on the network story showing kids cuddling BoBo.) Well..turns out this family wasn’t as wonderful as BF made it out to be. BoBo was chained up most of the time in the backyard. Occasionally, he was left off his chain. Those times he ran away from home, and attacked some neighborhood dogs. One of the owners of these dogs called animal control and Bobo was taken back to BF. This poor dog Bobo, who used to be a very popular sleepover dog at BF, is now NOT allowed to go on any sleepovers or outings in Kane County, by order of Kane County Sheriff. Here is the really weird part: BEST FRIENDS NEVER DID A HOME CHECK ON THIS DOG. He did not have a fenced yard. He was chained up most of the time. Neighbors called BF and complained, but BF did nothing…until BoBo escaped one time too many and attacked one dog too many. By the way, one of the owners of the attacked dogs wrote a letter to the editor in the local newspaper. She said she called John Garcia (Dogtown Manager) and asked him if BoBo had a home check, and John said no, and that he didn’t understand why a home check was not done. Huh?
    So..once again, we have BF doing a major network story in the hopes of raising funds (which they did) and the result is…well, I leave you to realize the results.

    • exfriender says:

      I had previously been forwarded enough information to confirm much of what taylor reported here, including that newspaper entry. Remember, also, that this is in their own backyard. That Kanab is only a few minutes away from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

      Regarding the alleged BFAS home checks, since you brought up the issue, I added
      Clearance Sale
      which was reported last year on that particular item.

  6. taylor radcliff says:

    Here is something I suggest to volunteers who want to do something “special” at BF. Ask to volunteer at the maintenance department. At the maintenance department, workers do a lot of repair work on the founders’ houses. You would get to do that, too! Ask the maintenance crew about the founder (female) with a “drinking problem.” They will most likely tell you about the terrible condition of her house–she has over 10 dogs and several cats and they poop and pee in the house, and well, given this founder’s drinking problem, she doesn’t clean up, and…you get the picture. Don’t take my word for it. Volunteer at the maintenance dept. Ask to see above-mentioned founder’s house. (It needs a lot of repairs since her drinking problem causes much damage.) See how thin her dogs are. See how starved they are for attention. Check out the matted fur. Smell the dog and cat feces and pee prevading the entire house.
    Ask yourself…why would a BF FOUNDER be allowed to be so neglectful to her animals. Hmmm…

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