Our Mission

Joey’s Legacy sole purpose is providing a place of comfort and solace when a family member has been taken from us unexpectedly. We provide emotional and legal support to assist and bring closure to those who experience feelings of helplessness and hopelessness in times of tragedy and despair. We are by your side, step-by-step, as you walk this new life path. 

About Us

Joey’s Legacy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit operating since 2017. We get approximately 60 new inquiries a month and help over 600 people annually.

We are not here to criminalize the entire veterinary profession. In fact, we support most in the field of veterinary care. Ethical and reputable vets are some of our biggest supporters. It is just the minority of “bad actors” who have to be held accountable for their actions. Joey’s Legacy helps to provide understanding and clarity for those grieving to determine if there is a breakdown in communication (which is the majority of cases) or if in fact there is a “bad actor” involved. And if in fact there is a “bad actor” then we are here to expose them in any legal way possible.

Our Board of Directors

As board members, our ultimate goal is to put ourselves out of business. Until we are no longer needed, Joey’s Legacy strives to help all victims of veterinary malpractice obtain as much justice and closure as one is able to achieve. Additionally, community education is a key priority in hopes of preventing future malpractice cases.

Scott Fine Board of Directors

scott fine

President
Bernadette Alisantosa Board of Directors

Bernadette Alisantosa, dvm

Director
Steve Fries, Board of Directors

steve fries

Director
Anna Morrison-Ricordati Board of Directors

Anna Morrison-Ricordati, esquire

Director
Jodi Ware Board of Directors

Jodi Ware

Vice President
Kristina Bergsten Board of Directors

Kristina Bergsten, esquire

Director
Lisa Gruccio Board of Directors

Lisa Gruccio

Director
Jerry Robb Board of Directors

Jerry robb

Director
Debbie Fine Board of Directors

Debbie Fine

Treasurer
John Biffar Board of Directors

John Biffar

Director
Peggy Hoyt Board of Directors

peggy hoyt, esquire

Director
Kristie Sharon Board of Directors

Kristie Sharon

Director
Kim Mortise Board of Directors

kim mortise

Executive Secretary
Dr. Robin Cannizzaro veterinarian

Robin Cannizzaro, DVM

Director
Stephanie Mahoney Board of Directors

stephanie mahoney, mpa

Director
Erica Tramuta-Drobnis Board of Directors

Erica Tramuta-Drobnis, VMD, MPH, CPH

Director

FAQ

We provide veterinary, legal and mental health support to over 600 people annually, including referrals to fully vetted experts in those fields. We work in partnership with VETERINARY MALPRACTICE CONSULTANTS. Their independent vets will review all aspects of your case and provide a Certificate of Merit if negligence or malpractice is found. Their veterinarians are highly experienced and specialized in various areas of expertise from cancer to equines and everything in between. We want to cover all bases and make sure nothing is missed.  And they do it all for less than 1/3 of the fee that is generally available to the public. Our attorney referrals are experts in veterinary malpractice cases and take over once you have a Certificate of Merit (opinion letter) or you can use an attorney of your choosing at this stage. Other options include taking your case to small claims court (check your state’s rules and regulations for further information), you could also opt for mediation or perhaps if you used plastic to pay for veterinary costs, a credit dispute with your card company might be something to consider. Regardless we are there by your side from your first initial contact to your case review by independent vets even through the legal system and beyond if necessary. Need help navigating the system, we are here. Or just need someone to listen, we are here for that too. We know what you are going through and have processes in place to help.

Legal action is going to require a Certificate of Merit before starting any case. We refer you to independent veterinarians who review your case and all documents, including medical records. If our veterinary team finds negligence or malpractice after reviewing your case, they will write an opinion letter (also known as a “Certificate of Merit”). If negligence or malpractice is found, then your Certificate of Merit is presented to an attorney. Generally, 85% of all cases settle out of court when an opinion letter exists.

Our referral service is free and our experts have reduced their rates for any referrals from Joey’s Legacy. Joey’s Legacy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and relies on donations from our supporters in order to offer referral services, education projects, community advocacy initiatives, and more. Our staff are 100% non-paid volunteer based.

If able, please consider making a donation.

Thank you so much for asking. We could not do what we do without our supporters. Here are highlights for 9 different ways to show your support. From getting the word out on social media to joining us as a member of Joey’s Legacy advocacy group, your support matters.

Joey’s Legacy is found through a Google search, our partner VETERINARY MALPRACTICE CONSULTANTS, a referral from a friend or family member who had a bad experience with a vet, animal law firms in the United States, or perhaps even by the referral of a new veterinarian who is now taking care of your companion animal because the former veterinarian maltreated him/her. We are finding more and more ethical veterinarians referring victims to us so that we can pursue justice against the former veterinarian. If you call one of our attorneys for assistance, they will ask you to contact us first. Any licensed attorney of merit will not accept your case without an independent veterinary review of that case, so referrals can also come that way.

The Celebration of Life featured fur babies — or nekkid ones… as our webmaster insisted on including because she has hairless babies 🤪 — do not have to be victims. In fact, these displays are a way to celebrate the loves in our life from special occasions of current babies to shared memories from the past. Anyone is welcome to have a display created and shared just for them with a Joey’s Legacy donation.

Find out more… 

The average turnaround time is 7 – 10 days; but during busier periods it may take up to 3 weeks.

  1. Get Your Records
    It’s very important to start by getting all your medical records.
  2. Contact Us
    Then contact Joey’s Legacy for help. We have a quick form to get you started.
  3. Get a Review
    An independent case review is key to moving forward.

 

More information on these 3 steps, including a Getting Started form, found on our HOME page.

After discussing your case, we will refer you to VETERINARY MALPRACTICE CONSULTANTS for one of their veterinarian experts to review your case. We will ask you to email all medical records to that expert. If their veterinary team finds negligence or malpractice after reviewing your case, they will write an opinion letter (also known as a “Certificate of Merit”). Total cost for a full review and opinion letter is $395, which is drastically less than what is generally charged in the open market. If negligence or malpractice is found, then your Certificate of Merit is presented to one of our referred attorneys in the state where the allegations of misconduct took place for them to review and to offer legal options or you can use an attorney of your choosing at this stage.

Medical notes, testing and lab results, pre-event blood work if available, are all necessary and you have legal rights to all of the paperwork.

You can see a complete list from our HOME page.

The expert teams we partner with are ever growing so it is hard to post a number online and have it be accurate the following week; however we generally have a team of 15 – 20 veterinarians at any given time, who are graduates from AVMA and EAEVE-accredited veterinary colleges with DVM degrees, many have additional degrees from PhD to master’s degrees in varying veterinary medicine specialties. Some have extensive training in a variety of specialties and a number are published extensively. All have successfully completed a thorough screening/vetting process, have active licenses with no disciplinary action and a minimum of 5 years in practice.

We seek out licensed attorneys who are experts in the field of veterinary malpractice and try to cover as much of the US and Canada as possible. Currently, over 40 different attorneys have actively assisted our members.

Fees charged by attorneys we refer vary but are often well below fees you’ll find in the open market. Our attorneys can offer you several legal options and some may be more affordable. This will depend on the nature of your case, how many parties are involved, and other factors that may add to the total cost.

Has your pet been a victim?

Joey’s Legacy joins you in grieving for pet companions who have fallen victim to veterinary negligence, be it permanent injury or death. Our nationwide network of veterinary experts and animal law attorneys seeks to hold negligent practitioners responsible for their mistakes. Please complete the victim form below and we will be in touch shortly.

Joey's Story
Our sweet Joey

…What you
set in motion is
your legacy."

Leonard Sweet

Joey, our beloved 12-year-old dachshund, died on June 21, 2017, at a veterinary hospital in Fort Myers, Florida. A substitute veterinarian who decided to diagnose Joey’s condition without the benefit of diagnostic tests “guessed” incorrectly and gave Joey a shot of a drug called Convenia, manufactured by Zoetis, that is typically used for skin and soft tissue infections. Zoetis states, in its safety data sheet, that the drug should never be used in animals with renal dysfunction, lactating animals and animals less than six weeks old. Convenia is a drug known to be nephrotoxic (destructive) to the kidneys in these situations.

When Joey returned to the hospital the next morning, after his condition deteriorated overnight, his regular veterinarian (who wasn’t at the hospital the day before) actually relied on his medical training and performed labs, which showed early stage renal failure. He immediately hospitalized Joey and did the best he could to save Joey. The next day, June 21, 2017, Joey’s veterinarian called us and told us that his prognosis was poor. His breathing was extremely labored, and he couldn’t stand. We had to make the horrible decision to euthanize him. We watched as Joey took his last breath, an image my wife and I will never forget.

I was advised by independent veterinarians, during the preparation of my complaint to the Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine, that if labs had been performed quickly (about 30 hours earlier) there were renal-friendly drugs available that could have been given that would have offered Joey a chance to survive that veterinary experience. Joey’s death was the result of an arrogant narcissist whose ego interfered with his many decades of experience.

The probable cause panel of the Florida vet board found enough evidence to move forward with a formal complaint against the shameless vet, who had been in trouble multiple times previously. At the final hearing in December 2018, the vet stood before the board, weeping like a child and begging for another chance which he was given thanks to the spineless members of the Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine. The more serious count of practice below the standard of care was dismissed, and the record-keeping violations count was sustained, with minimal disciplinary action imposed. This reluctance to discipline firmly and fairly is to be expected with corrupt Boards of Veterinary Medicine across our country that only care about protecting their own. Unfortunately, this allows habitual offenders to continue to offend and cause emotional turmoil and mayhem in the lives of companion animal families.

Joey’s Legacy was directly formed from this experience. We would love for no one to ever have to go through this again but if they do, we want to be right there with you hand in hand.

Did You know?

Joey's Legacy

is platinum rated

top .1% of charities nationally in transparency

GuideStar/Candid Platinum Transparency Seal 2022