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Mount Pleasant  Animal Advocate Seeks Changes in Veterinarian Practice Law,, May, 2007, YouTube

Marcia Rosenberg is fighting a familiar uphill battle. The Mount Pleasant animal advocate wants lawmakers to pass a law that looks out for those who can't speak for themselves-- your pets....

“I know of cases where people have seen [abuse] happen and they are too afraid to come forward to do anything about it,” said Rosenberg.

Caretaker Concerns, WCBD-TV, Charleston, SC, November 28, 2006 

"I enjoyed working there, I enjoyed working with the public and the animals,” said animal advocate Marcia Rosenberg, who volunteered at the South Carolina Aquarium for about three years.  She left after questioning the aquarium about the lawsuit and the vet board’s findings. “Those animals belong to the citizens of South Carolina. They should be getting very best veterinary care,” said Rosenberg.  


More news on South Carolina page


Sheridan Leaves Job at Aquarium,, Charleston, SC, May 3, 2007, YouTube



"In February, the [South Carolina] board released a formal complaint against Sheridan, charging he 'engaged in unprofessional conduct' and that 'he was negligent in failing to meet the standard of care.'"



Related links:

PUBLIC HEARING AT THE SOUTH CAROLINA VET BOARD was scheduled for May 3, but has been postponed....check for updates




S.C. Ushers "Open Access," DVM Magazine July 1, 2006

"Advocators to open access of public hearings believed the board and accused veterinarian went into a back room and made a decision, Shrum explains, without evidence a genuine hearing even took place." 

Sen. Larry Grooms and Marcia Rosenberg, a pet owner whose cat almost died after a botched spay surgery, lobbied for the hearings to be public to protect pet owners, say they are happy with the outcome of their efforts.

"After a several-year struggle, I am gratified that South Carolina has joined the community of states where veterinary disciplinary hearings are open to the public," Rosenberg says. 

Read full story here




SUNDAY, JUNE 25, 2006 12:00 AM

Stamina wins one 'sunshine' fight

It wasn't a good legislative year for "sunshine law" advocates - with one major exception. After a five-year campaign, a Mount Pleasant housewife finally succeeded in her fight to open disciplinary hearings of the S.C. Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.

Marcia Rosenberg is the first to say that the bill signed by governor on May 31 isn't all she'd hoped for. She told us that during last-minute negotiations, "I had to give in" on some points, "but my main goal always was to open the hearings. Now, once a complaint is filed and the board decides to hold a hearing, the case is open to the public."

Among her regrets is her failure to get a second consumer member added to the veterinary board. She also is concerned about what she describes as "gag" language that prevents the discussion of a complaint unless the board agrees that it has merit and schedules a hearing. Still, no one knows better than Marcia Rosenberg what a major victory the open hearings constitute.

She began her efforts in 2001, a year after her kitten nearly died after what generally is viewed as routine surgery. The kitten was saved by another veterinarian. Her difficult experience during the complaint process, including a closed hearing, led to her determination to give the public more access to information about disciplinary actions. The vet involved in her case had his license suspended in 2002 for a year and, two years later, agreed to stop practicing in South Carolina.

For the last five years, Mrs. Rosenberg has been a fixture in Columbia, lobbying lawmakers to open the process. She says the senator from her district, Larry Grooms, "was incredibly supportive. He worked so hard at the end with the negotiations." She also praised Sen. Glenn McConnell and Rep. Ben Hagood for their help over the years. Mrs. Rosenberg tells us she now spends hours every day helping those with potential complaints better understand the process, along with providing moral support. "There's a huge need out there," she said.

Mrs. Rosenberg's determination played a big role in her ultimate victory. That same kind of stamina will be called on to get some clearly needed changes in the state's Freedom of Information Act. Most of a three-part package pushed by the S.C. Press Association this year failed even to make it to the House floor.

Few abuses of that law are more blatant than those involving executive sessions. The proposed change would require officials to affirm by affidavit after a session that they had complied with the law. Another would have reduced the waiting time for FOI requests and a third would have tightened the law against so-called chance meetings of public officials.

Some believe the press' inability to make its case this year had something to do with its efforts to keep open meetings of legislative caucuses.

The House did agree to what should have been an easily passed measure known as the "Kinko bill" that would have prohibited public bodies from charging more than the going commercial rate for copying documents. A press survey showed a wide disparity of charges, with the top at $6 per page. But even that consumer-friendly bill died in the Senate.

There's always another session. And Marcia Rosenberg's success is a great reminder of the importance of not giving up.

This article was printed via the web on 6/25/2006 12:00:36 PM . This article
appeared in The Post and Courier and updated online at on Sunday, June 25, 2006.


South Carolina DVMs Eager for Practice Act Passage, DVM Magazine, March 2006

"The public has a right to know."

  Animal advocate Marcia Rosenberg and SC Senator Larry Grooms pushing for "increased public scrutiny."

"What is driving me is the public has a right to know details about the veterinarian that they chose to care for their pets. That is the bottom line," Rosenberg said. "Everything comes back to that."

 Adds Senator Grooms: "Sunshine is the best disinfectant." 


Stan Gorlitsky, DVM:

Veterinarian Retires After Complaint,, July 23, 2004

Senator Blocking Bill to Regulate Veterinarians,, June 2, 2004

Veterinarian Law Gets Backing (Columbia),, June 2, 2004

Veterinarian Suspended for One Year (Lowcountry),, July 26, 2002

Secret System Hides Concerns on S.C. Veterinary Care (Mount Pleasant),, July 21, 2002

Thomas Sheridan, DVM:

Caretaker Concerns (Charleston),, November 28, 2006

The Revolution Will Be Blogged, Charleston City Paper, November 22, 2006 "More than five years ago, Zotto collected a group of animal owners and a coworker and filed a civil suit against local veterinarian Thomas Sheridan, claiming he had abused and killed several animals and caused her and her coworker emotional distress because he did it in front of them. Criminal charges against Sheridan were dismissed and he would eventually settle the civil suit out of court."




Gag language from the new South Carolina Veterinary Practice Act:

(B)    Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a person connected with any complaint, investigation, or other proceeding before the board, including, but not limited to, the complainant, any witness, counsel, counsel's secretary, board member, board employee, court reporter, or investigator, must not mention the existence of the complaint, investigation, or other proceeding, disclose any information pertaining to the complaint, investigation, or other proceeding, or discuss any testimony or other evidence in the complaint, investigation, or other proceeding, except to persons involved and having a direct interest in the complaint, investigation, or other proceeding, and then only to the extent necessary for the proper disposition of the complaint, investigation, or other proceeding. This prohibition does not apply to any matter contained in a formal complaint and answer made available for public inspection by this chapter or any matter or document disclosed in a public hearing. However, whenever the board receives information in any complaint, investigation, or other proceeding before it indicating a violation of state or federal law, the board may provide that information, to the extent the board considers necessary, to the appropriate state or federal law enforcement agency or regulatory body.

Very clever, no? This should frighten enough unsatisfied veterinary clients into silence, which was probably the point to this nonsense.  While the South Carolina Vet Board may have the right to prohibit their own employees from discussing or revealing a complaint, notice how they snuck the "complainant" into the list of counsel, counsel's secretary, investigator, board employee, etc.  The board might be able to  enforce "this prohibition" among the people on the state's payroll; they have NO right to enforce it among the citizens of South Carolina or anywhere else. Maybe these veterinarians and legislators need a refresher course in the Bill of Rights. -- J.C.

See's section on The First Amendment

See's editorial on The Importance of the Free Speech Online Campaign




Truly Bad Language...What Is Going on in South Carolina? 

by Julie Catalano

Appalling and disturbing language in the new, recently-passed South Carolina Veterinary Practice Act could mislead that state's complainants into thinking they are forbidden to reveal the name of the veterinarian they file on or even reveal the existence of the complaint they filed...and that is not true. 

First, congratulations to SC advocate Marcia Rosenberg, who has been tenacious in holding these vets' feet to the fire and making great strides in bringing daylight to the secret systems that all veterinary boards are. Read of her ongoing battle to hold South Carolina vets more accountable in a public setting...and this latest victory is a significant one. MORE


Meet Marcia and Pumpkin Rosenberg, South Carolina

A Citizen's Important Freedom of Information Fight

"I was determined to put a stop to the killings and to the improper actions of the Vet Board.  It wasn't easy and it didn't happen quickly...." more 

A veterinarian's history of complaints is something "that every pet owner should have the right to see." 

Marcia Rosenberg, South Carolina animal advocate, has been battling for five years to fling open the doors on the state's "secret system" that denies pet guardians the opportunity to see a veterinarian's complaint history. 

Rosenberg's original fight to get justice for her cat Pumpkin, who nearly died after a botched spay procedure by Mount Pleasant veterinarian Stan Gorlitsky, DVM. The more her persistence gained public notice, the more complaints about this vet, along with his history of malpractice and incompetence, came her way. With her assistance, other of Gorlitsky's victims filed with the state board. It resulted in agreeing to close his practice in South Carolina. 

Fortunately for SC residents, that persistence has continued all the way to the state capital, where Rosenberg has gained some powerful Senate allies along with the South Carolina Press Association, calling for public disclosure of complaints against those in the medical professions, including veterinarians.

According to Senator Glenn McConnell, what Rosenberg has done is "awaken the conscience," adding: "It's a matter of accountability. The public has got a right to see what complaints are on file on a particular vet before taking a pet to that vet."

Read full article in the Post and Courier at here 


Related links:

Kill Bill: What is going on in South Carolina? 

 "Vet's Retirement Doesn't Diminish Need for Reform,", August 4, 2004

Veterinarian Retires After Complaint,, July 23, 2004

Kill Bill Part 2... South Carolina's "Secret System" in the news again..

'Sunshine Bills' Aim to Protect Patients, May 30, 2005, John Monk

South Carolina Vets Want Complaints to Be Private,, April 17, 2005, John Monk, News Columnist

Doctors Backing Bills to Gag Citizens in Animal Cases

"S.C. veterinarians want to muzzle more than dogs these days. Two bills they support would stop citizens from speaking out about incompetent vets.

Bills making their way through the House and Senate would gag citizens who file complaints against veterinarians who they think are incompetent...[more]"

To read all of the articles on Marcia Rosenberg's fight to protect companion animals in South Carolina and SC pet guardians' right to FREEDOM OF SPEECH go to

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