Case Snapshot
Case ID: 3637
Classification: Kicking/Stomping, Beating
Animal: dog (non pit-bull)
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Person(s) in animal care
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Friday, Dec 31, 2004

County: Riverside

Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Steven Salk, DVM

Case Updates: 3 update(s) available

Doctor Steven Salk, whose clinic is in Palm Springs, is facing one charge of misdemeanor animal cruelty from the DA's office for allegedly kicking, striking with fist/hand and leash a 4 year old German Shepherd left in his care for X-rays.  The California Vet Board is aware of the charge and they are investigating the case.

Dr. Salk will make a court appearance in March.

He appeared in an Indio courtroom Jan 19 on an unrelated charge of cultivating marijuana. He pleaded not guilty.  Both cases are being heard in Riverside County Superior Court Indio, CA.

Deputy District Attorney - Ms. Ann Loufthouse


Case Updates

"No contest" was the plea from Doctor Stephen Salk's attorney as the veterinarian's criminal trial for animal cruelty came to an end. Salk was a no show in court. Earlier this year, Salk pleaded guilty to an unrelated count of growing marijuana.

Most recently, Salk was accused of beating a 4-year-old German shepherd named Brandy while the dog was in his care at his animal clinic in Palm Springs. Workers at the clinic say they saw Doctor Salk slap, whip and kick the dog last September.

Michael and Susan Frydrych are Brandy's owners. In court, Michael said this experience has been a nightmare and that Salk has no respect for the law, his staff or his clients.

As the plea was entered, Salk's attorney said his client admitted to making a mistake. He says his client has been taking medication for a bipolar disorder and getting treatment for alcohol and drug abuse.

The judge gave Doctor Salk 3 years probation, 100 hours of community service and a fine of $3,000.

The Frydyrch's admit they feel somewhat vindicated in that Salk pleaded no contest, but they still feel the punishment was a mere slap on the wrist.

"The fine of $3,000, we've spent more than that taking care of our animal since he abused her. That to me is nothing."

Frederick says he's hopeful the plea will lead to further action.

"I'm hoping the vet board will take this guilty plea and past drug abuse and revoke the license until they feel confident his office is back in order."

The Frydrych's say this punishment isn't enough. They will move ahead with a civil suit they filed last month.
Source: KESQ - Sept 7, 2005
Update posted on Sep 7, 2005 - 10:10PM 
The prominent Palm Springs veterinarian who's accused of kicking and beating a dog pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty charges today.

It's a nightmare for any pet owner. Getting a call from police telling them they think their beloved pet was beaten by their veterinarian and that's exactly what the victims attorney says happened in this case.

The man who's charged with the crime, Doctor Steven Michael Salk, pleaded guilty to one count of growing marijuana. Today, his attorney entered a not guilty plea to the animal cruelty charges.

For the owners of four year old Brandy, a German shepherd, Doctor Salk was a trusted veterinarian; someone who they say was a close acquaintance, someone who cared for brandy for nine years. But court documents paint an entirely different picture.

Workers at the animal hospital say on September 4th last year, Salk "kneed at, kicked the dog at least five times."

One worker says "she watched in horror as Dr. Salk slapped the dog at least twice with a full swing, using an open hand, striking the dog's head."

Doctor Salk was also described as "out of control."

Others said Brandy did have a caution label on her, but only because she whined and cried around the owner.

Documents show the owner told police the dog returned home "extremely groggy and uncoordinated." The victim also said "her dog's eyes were watery and bloodshot."

Salk will be back in court on August 10th for a pretrial hearing.
Source: KESQ - June 27, 2005
Update posted on Jun 27, 2005 - 9:27PM 
Doctor Steven Salk pleaded guilty on May 23 to one count of cultivating marijuana while also appearing on a separate criminal charge of animal cruelty.

Doctor Steven Salk has been a valley veterinarian for more than 20 years. At the Indio courthouse today he pleaded guilty to the drug charge and was ordered to enroll in a drug rehab program.

Meantime, he also faced an animal cruelty charge.

Salk is accused of kicking and beating a four-year-old German Shepherd named Brandy. Her owners, Susan and Mike Frederick, hired a civil attorney who spoke on their behalf.

"The family is first contending just in terms of decency, that no animal should be abused, especially at the hands of a professional who's undertaken another first, to do no harm which is what happened here."

Salk will be back in court June 27th on the animal cruelty charge. He is still practicing out of his Palm Springs office. The civil suit is pending.
Source: KESQ TV 3 - May 23, 2005
Update posted on May 24, 2005 - 11:00PM 

References

  • Riverside County Superior Court # INM151050
  • Crime report # 04--246-0032  Palm Springs Police (Animal Control) 

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