RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Following reports of possible animal abuse at McGuire Medical Center, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Inspector General confirms to 8News a case has been opened.
In an email shared with 8News, The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General writes it has assigned “a case number” to review the concerns.
“As your reporting has shown, the McGuire VA Medical Center has really demonstrated a disturbing pattern of dog abuse, transparency failures and accountability deficiencies, so we are very encouraged that the VA inspector General seems to be taking this seriously,” says Justin Goodman with the animal rights Group White Coat Waste Project.
The group shared with 8News hospital incident reports obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request. Those reports detailed forced heart attacks on dogs resulting in “sudden cardiac death” and fatal surgical mistakes that were deemed “reckless.”
Back in March, the group called on the Inspector General back to launch an investigation.
However, how much of a role the OIG plays remains to be seen. The OIG they have asked another VAA Office, the Office of Research and Management, to look into the matter to ultimately determine if the Inspector General’s Office needs to step in.
Still, White Coat Waste Project believes the VA’s the new secretary is committed to reform and hopes as budget talks get underway funding for this kind of animal testing is left out of the 2018 budget.
“We did some recent polling and 75 percent of taxpayers do not want to see their money spent on dog experimentation in government laboratories.” Goodman said.
The VA tells us this review will likely take two months to complete. McGuire tells 8News this kind of animal research has led to life-saving advances for humans.