Animal doctor fired by city of Providence

providence public safety complex

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The city of Providence has terminated a contract with a veterinarian it claims “misdiagnosed animals and incorrectly recommended euthanasia,” according to a document filed with the Board of Contract and Supply.

The city has also accused Dr. Patricia Burke of failing “to use standard procedures for restraining an animal,” which resulted in a dog attacking a city employee at Providence Animal Control. The board approved a proposal to award the contract to another veterinarian Monday.

Lindsay Lague, a spokesperson for the Providence police department, confirmed Burke’s contract was terminated Dec. 20. The police department oversees animal control. Lague declined to comment further.

Reached Monday, Burke said no one from the city contacted her to say her contract was being terminated.

The Board of Contract and Supply approved a $20,000 contract for Burke and another veterinarian to perform “non-emergency veterinary services for Providence Animal Control” on Aug. 22, according to documents reviewed by Eyewitness News.

Burke said she has visited Providence Animal Control six times since she started the job, but acknowledged the city took more than a month to pay her.

Burke said it was not her job to recommend euthanasia for animals, although she indicated that she did suggest that a sick kitten should be put down. She said the department declined to euthanize the animal.

As for the attack on city employee, Burke said she was working with a pit bull that was found abandoned in an apartment when the dog “got away” and attacked the employee. She said the employee was supposed to restrain the dog.

“That’s the worst I’ve ever seen,” referring to the bite.

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Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan