A woman working in an Orlando area emergency animal hospital is being investigated after a video has surfaced showing her picking a dog up by its leash and swinging its body -- hard -- against the wall several times.
(Image: YouTube screenshot)
WKMG-TV reported the incident occurring at Emergency Pet Hospital with lead veterinarian Dr. Mohammad Hassan confirming the woman in the video was the manager.
"I was very upset when I saw the video," Hassan told WKMG. "It does look very bad because the video was altered and trimmed."
He noted to the local outlet that the dog had bitten other workers before and that his manager had tried different ways to control the dog. WKMG asked him if there were a better way than what was shown in the video, to which he responded "There's always a better way." But he didn't agree with calling it animal abuse overall as others have.
"If you see the video as-is, I'm sure it can be considered animal abuse," said Hassan. "If you see the whole video, you're going to realize what happened there happens everywhere all the time."
Watch the report (Content warning: footage might be considered disturbing):
Hassan told the out the the video is more than a year old and must have been leaked by a former employee holding a grudge.
After its initial article, WKMG was contacted by some former employees of the animal hospital who shared their thoughts:
After the story aired, Local 6 heard from several former employees who claim the quit because of conditions inside the clinic, and each allege having seen the manager abuse other animals.
Haley Smith recalled one instance and said, "I just heard screaming and barking and I ran into the room that she was in and basically what I saw was her punching the dog directly in the chest cavity."
Another former employee who asked to remain anonymous said, "She started cursing at the dog and hitting it in the head, on the shoulder area, yanking the leash and it was a large dog -- it was a Golden Retriever -- so she was being excessive. Very excessive. Abusive."
Dr. Hassan said none of the other allegations about the clinic manager are true.
Hassan wondered why, if employees knew about this treatment, they didn't come forward. Smith said she was afraid to report it.
"I didn't feel like I could do anything about it because I was terrified. When you see people hurting an animal like that, what do you think they're going to do to you?" Smith said, according to WKMG.
Moving forward, Hassan said the woman in the video, who was working in the clinic up until last week, was fired. The Florida Department of Professional Regulation is investigating the issue and the attorney's office has been contacted to evaluate whether to press charges, the report stated.
Hassan told the station the dog was not injured in the incident.
Here's a YouTube video showing the graphic footage (Note: it's unclear if this is the originally posted YouTube video):