Orting vet accused of giving substandard care

ORTING, Wash. -- The state health department is once again investigating a small town veterinarian who's accused of treating animals in a dirty operating room and using mossy twigs to prop up a dog's cropped ears.

Three clients complained about a lack of sanitation and what they believe was substandard care for their dogs. But the vet, Dr. William Briskey, said he's cleaned up his operation.

"I try to do the best I can and I'm proud of what I do," Briskey said.

Briskey works in a clinic the size of a living room, with a waiting room on one side.

"You walk around the corner and we have an area where we have exam and treatment," he said.

The state is now investigating Briskey's practice after a kennel owner brought in 13 dogs to be debarked and one of them died five days later. She blames Briskey, claiming he used the same surgical instruments on all the dogs without cleaning them.

"We didn't do anything unusual or different from any other case," Briskey said.

But he does admit he used tiny tree branches caked with moss to prop up another dog's ears after cropping.

"I don't knock the branches, I knock my procedure of doing it," he said.

He also said the same woman who complained is now a repeat customer.

"The ears turned out fine," he said. "A week later she said, 'Man, they look good.'"

A third client accused Briskey of keeping a dirty surgical room, not wearing gloves and leaving partially closed incisions.

During his interview for this story, an unattended dog was left in the waiting room while waking up from anesthesia.

Asked if it's alright for the dog to be in the waiting area, Briskey said, "I don't know."

But the doctor does have defenders.

"I don't know what people are going to do, this is our vet," said client Alan Hemstreet. "He's the most honest, fair and best vet I've ever been to."

Les Hoover describes Briskey as a country vet who cuts costs but not corners.

"I do what I think is right for the patient," Briskey said.

The state will soon conduct a hearing on the case. In 2001, Briskey was state ordered to make changes for similar allegations. He's had a clean record with the state until now.