Charity closes amid complaints of surgeries performed by nonveterinarians

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An Atlanta-based charity that performed orthopedic surgeries on stray animals has shuttered following complaints from Georgia veterinarians that physicians with the organization were neither trained nor licensed to operate on animals.

Surgeons for Strays, a nonprofit practice started by orthopedic surgeon John Keating, MD, suspended operations Sept. 13.

"The GVMA believes the veterinary practice act prohibits human medical practitioners from performing surgeries on companion animals," the association said.

Surgeons for Strays had treated approximately 70 dogs and cats, according to a profile of the organization in the June 2019 issue of AAOS Now, a publication of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. 

Dr. Keating was quoted as saying the animals his charity operated on were out of options in a Feb. 27 article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"Every single animal we have ever attended was homeless, without any resources, and the vast majority were on death row or languishing in rescues because nobody had the funds to fix them," he said.

All surgical procedures were, according to published reports, performed in the presence of supervising veterinarian Dr. Michael Good, which the charity believed did not violate state law. 

The GVMA received "numerous inquiries" from members on the matter, however. Area practitioner Dr. Alan Cross told Atlanta's Channel 2 Action News, "People who were not appropriately trained in veterinary medicine were caring for the animals, and we were concerned for their well-being."