Florida DVM assaulted by distraught pet owner

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May 01, 2010

PALM BAY, FLA. — A pet owner whose dog died after a routine surgery allegedly attacked his veterinarian and threatened the hospital staff with a knife.

Samuel Winstead, 60, of Rockledge, Fla., was arrested at the Animal Hospital of Palm Bay on March 26 on a charge of aggravated assault and battery for an alleged attack against practice owner Jason Frydenlund, DVM. Frydenlund could not be reached for comment at press time.

The pet owner reportedly brought his 11-year-old Schnauzer, BB, to Frydenlund to remove a benign fatty tumor from the dog's chest, police say. Following surgery, the dog came out of anesthesia but is believed to have suffered a stroke and died.

After learning about his dog's death, Winstead allegedly threatened the hospital staff on the phone, police say. Winstead continued making threats to staff members at the clinic saying "he had a knife and would use it."

He reportedly took a knife from his back pocket and waved it in Frydenlund's face, then returned the knife to his pocket and lunged at Frydenlund, police say. Winstead reportedly grabbed the veterinarian around his neck. Frydenlund grabbed Winstead's arms to restrain him. A hospital employee, Gemma Miller, stepped in to help separate the two men.

Police took Winstead into custody and held him on a $30,000 bond, according to the report. Police were alerted to the scuffle early because the hospital installed a panic button.

Aggravated assault and battery charges against Winstead are pending, police say.

Winstead was later released on bond and reportedly called Frydenlund from jail to apologize. The disposition of charges following Winstead's initial court hearing were unknown.