Employment History - The Merry-Go-Round

Prior to opening Wise Owl Animal Hospital, Dr Joel Joseph worked for - and was fired by - every other veterinarian on Guam including the Andersen Air Force Base clinic.

He was first hired by Dr Rebecca Diaz, then owner of Isla Veterinary Clinic. She fired him for incompetence, theft, and drug abuse (PDF of Dr Diaz's letter to GBAHE). Parts of the letter dealing with speculations beyond her personal experience with him have been redacted.

Dr Joseph Edhlund of Marianas Vetcare Pet Hospital knew of Dr Diaz's experience but needed help so badly that he too hired Dr Joseph. He too dismissed him for similar reasons (PDF of letter to the GBAHE). Parts of the letter dealing with speculations beyond his personal experience with him have also been redacted.

Dr Harper also hired Dr Joseph and dedicated a staff member to watch him at all times, but she too had to dismiss him for incompetence and suspected theft and drug abuse.

He was then hired by the US Army Veterinary Command (now US Army Public Health Command) to work at the Andersen AFB Veterinary Treatment Facility. He was dismissed for incompetence and suspected theft.

Subsequently he was hired by the Southern Comfort Ranch which operated in Merizo from 1997 to 2006. During his stay there he and a visiting Army veterinarian (Dr RW) surgically removed hygromas (a false bursa) from the elbows of a young male lion.

Dr RW began his incision at the apex of the hygroma, drained and removed the fluid sac, then trimmed the excess skin to effect a closure with no tension on the suture line. Dr Joel Joseph, on the other hand, did a circumferential incision around the point of the elbow, perhaps with the idea of obtaining an intact pouch of lion skin. His incompetent technique left too little viable skin to close the surgical wound (comment in the video at the 21:00 mark: "It seemed like we had plenty of tissue and now we don't"). Even with a skin flap added, the excessively tight sutures failed after the lion woke up and flexed his elbow joint. Sepsis followed and the lion died of infection within days. Dr Joseph had the procedure recorded and it's been subsequently uploaded to YouTube.

As poorly as the surgery was done by Dr Joseph, what makes it worse is that it was both dangerous and unnecessary. Serving as a wildlife veterinarian in a zoo facility requires more that just a clinic. The position requires knowledge of the diseases and syndromes affecting the animals housed there. It's been known since at least 1995 that nearly 100% of hygromas on lion elbows are caused by Mycobacterium bovis, the tuberculosis of cattle. Transmission to humans is rare, however the manner of this surgery - cutting into infected tissue, draining and splashing fluid in the operating theater - is about as favorable as it gets. By performing this surgery he put everyone in that surgery suite at risk of contracting M. bovis. Not knowing the risk is incompetence, knowing the risk and proceeding anyway is gross negligence.

The Southern Comfort Ranch also found it necessary to fire him and charge him with incompetence, theft, and drug abuse (PDF of letter from Barry Cox to multiple authorities).

His application for the Territorial Veterinarian position was rejected due to lies on the application (PDF of letter from former Guam Department of Agriculture Director Paul Bassler to the GBAHE).


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