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FOR those who've recently received signed health certificates from Dr. Joel Joseph or his clinic, Wise Owl Animal Hospital, to move a pet off-island, the Department of Agriculture says it will no longer accept them.
The Guam Board of Allied Health Examiners on Friday, April 27 issued a preliminary record of decision, ordering the immediate suspension of Joseph from the practice of medicine for a period of five years.
But Joseph has stated he has no plans of abiding by the health board’s order until he’s issued a court order.
The Department of Agriculture’s territorial veterinarian, Dr. Tom Poole, said the record of decision that was issued and unanimously signed by GBAHE essentially invalidates any health certificates coming from Joseph or his Tamuning clinic.
Poole said he received clearance from the Attorney General’s Office to put out the notice. AG spokesperson Carlina Charfauros confirmed yesterday that the AGO gave the Agriculture Department clearance to notify the public of the decision.
Since the April 27 decision made by the allied health board, Poole said he’s seen two Wise Owl clients attempting to validate health certificates from Joseph to get clearance for their pets.
“I’ve been very busy trying to help those people get what they need cleared. They’ve paid [Joseph] over $100 each and they don’t have anything,” Poole said.
In the meantime, some island veterinarians have offered to assist Joseph’s clients at no additional charge, Poole said.
The decision ordered Joseph to surrender his license to the GBAHE office by 3 p.m. on the same date. He was given a 72-hour mandate to return all animals and their medical records under the custody of his clinic to their owners or other licensed veterinarians and to inform the board when he has done so.
Additionally, he was ordered to remove the “Wise Owl Animal Hospital” sign from its premises within 24 hours of the preliminary record of decision.
However, Joseph has argued that the preliminary record of decision has no legality unless ordered and enforced by a Superior Court of Guam judge.
Atty. Ben Abrams, who represents GBAHE, believes Joseph has no grounds to argue his case. Abrams said although the record of decision is preliminary, the allied health board is preparing a final ruling. In the meantime, the preliminary decision is a “de facto” ruling and the board has adjudicated its case and announced his license suspended.
Abrams also upheld the Agriculture Department’s decision to no longer accept health certificates from Joseph.
“The Department of Agriculture is perfectly entitled to do this. He doesn’t have the right to issue health certificates until we issue a final ruling,” Abrams said.