Veterinarian suspended after DUI, ‘botched’ surgery of dog

Veterinarian suspended after DUI, ‘botched’ surgery of dog

Will Greenlee

PORT ST. LUCIE — A Humane Society of St. Lucie County veterinarian was suspended as police conduct a DUI investigation of an incident in which she is accused of crashing with a dog after a “botched” surgery, according to records and the humane society.

Julia Marisa Sheehan, 29, of Port St. Lucie, was arrested Feb. 1 by Port St. Lucie police on misdemeanor DUI and hit-and-run charges, records show.

Melissa McInturff, executive director of the Humane Society of St. Lucie County, said Friday Sheehan has been suspended without pay as of Feb. 1 pending the outcome of the case.

Sheehan joined the staff in Aug. 2020 as the veterinarian over the clinic and shelter, McInturff said.

According to statements in records, Sheehan reported she was spaying a dog, identified as a 2-year-old Saint Berdoodle named Maisie. Maisie started bleeding and Sheehan couldn’t find out where.

Sheehan took Maisie from the humane society facility in the 8800 block of Glades Cut-Off Road to Veterinary Medical Center of St. Lucie County on U.S. 1 just south of Prima Vista Boulevard, almost a 10 mile drive.

Sheehan is accused of crashing a Jeep into another vehicle before arriving at the Veterinary Medical Center. Her face was flushed, she slightly slurred her speech and she appeared sleepy, an affidavit states.

Police reported medical staff indicated, “The dog’s surgery was botched, and we had to euthanize the dog to end its suffering,” an affidavit states.

Told the dog was euthanized, Sheehan started to cry.

“I just did a standard procedure, but the dog began to bleed too much, maybe it had a bleeding disorder, I did everything right,” Sheehan is quoted as saying. “I didn’t want to kill the dog, I just tried to help it.”

Sheehan performed field sobriety tests, and was arrested. She denied taking illegal drugs and did not wish to take a breath test and provide a urine sample.

Sheehan was arrested in May 2019 in Martin County on DUI-related charges. Tests of her blood alcohol content at the time measured 0.24 and 0.22 — greater than the legal limit of 0.08, records show.

She pleaded no contest in her case.

McInturff said two part-time vets are filling in to care for the shelter pets, and that there has been no diminution of care.

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