NYC practice fights back after New York Post gaffe

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Sep 01, 2011

NEW YORK CITY — The phones started ringing at Riverside Animal Hospital shortly after the New York Post published a story about a Bulldog that died from respiratory distress after being left unattended for days in a veterinary clinic's kennel.

The calls and emails that followed were described as nothing short of obscene, according to clinic staff at Riverside Veterinary Group. Most were anonymous, but long-time clients were upset, too.


Damage control: Raclyn is defending his practice, Riverside Animal Hospital, after a popular newspaper wrongly identified it as the clinic where a kenneled Bulldog died.
"She just ripped us a new one, basically," explains Andrea Conway, practice manager for Riverside Veterinary Group, which is made up of the three practices owned by Dr. Phillip Raclyn and Dr. Steven Kasanfosky. Two are in Manhattan and one is in Yorktown Heights, N.Y.

But the bigger problem for the staff at Riverside Veterinary Group is that the Bulldog cited in the New York Post story was never its patient. He was boarded and died at Riverside Animal Clinic, which Raclyn sold to Dr. Javier Ramos in the 1980s.

The story ran in the July 23 edition of the New York Post on Page 3 including a photo and address of Riverside Animal Hospital.

But just days before the story was published, Marie Moore filed suit in Manhattan Supreme Court against Ramos, alleging he left the dog unattended in the clinic's kennel. The dog died, and Ramos attributed the cause of death to congestive heart failure, the lawsuit alleges. A necropsy performed by Cornell University's Animal Health and Diagnostic Center found the dog's heart in normal condition, but its death was caused by severe laryngeal edema caused by an airway obstruction and suffocation, the lawsuit alleges.

By that afternoon, Conway alerted the New York Post, which corrected the online version of its story and ran a correction, on Page 6, the following day. But, for Riverside Animal Hospital, the damage had been done.

"The feeling is really helplessness more than anything else," says Raclyn. "I know, in the real world, people like me have very little power. We're all just pawns in the game. I just felt helpless, and I knew I would never get the New York Post to do anything constructive, so all I could do was damage control."