Who, age What Where When Last Known Address
Mircea Volosen, 44

veterinarian kills dog with a mallet

veterinarian kills dog with a blunt instrument

Colleyville, TX

Tarrant County

July 4, 2003

September 26, 2002

Denton, TX
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved
Felony   1 miniature dachshund, 1 black labrador retriever

Neighbors of a veterinarian who is accused of killing a miniature dachshund in his back yard said they want the man's veterinary license revoked.

It was the second time in the past year that veterinarian Mircea Volosen of Colleyville had killed a neighbor's dog on his property, according to police reports.

The dachshund was killed with a log-splitting mallet as her owner, Kevin Ball, watched nearby and screamed for Volosen to stop, Ball said. The 2-year-old dog, named Ginger, had escaped from the Balls' back yard, which is behind Volosen's.

Volosen, 44, was arrested and released that day pending further investigation. Police said he will be re-arrested on a warrant alleging animal cruelty, a state jail felony.

If convicted, he could face 180 days to two years in jail, up to a $10,000 fine, or both.

Volosen is a veterinarian at Pet Doctor in Richardson.

"We're not a family out to get revenge," said Michelle Ball, Kevin Ball's wife. "We just need closure. We want to know justice will prevail. He is showing a disturbing manner of behavior, and we think the community needs to know about this."

In September, Volosen killed a black Labrador retriever with a blunt object in his yard after the dog killed seven of his rabbits and one chicken, according to a police report filed by Volosen. The Labrador had lunged at Volosen and tried to bite him, the report stated.

The pet owners whose dogs got into Volosen's yard received no citations in either incident. They said their dogs had escaped into Volosen's yard at least twice.

Michelle Ball said she plans to file a complaint with the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, which licenses veterinarians. Ron Allen, executive director of the board, said that a license is not automatically revoked over accusations of animal cruelty but that the board would investigate any complaint.

"I think it's a legal issue more than a practice of veterinary medicine," Allen said. "Protecting your chickens ... from a stray dog has nothing to do with practicing veterinary medicine. It's one person protecting his animals."

Volosen has no history of disciplinary action, according to the veterinary board. At his office in Richardson, a woman who declined to identify herself said that Volosen is "a very gentle and awesome doctor" and that he was justified in defending his animals in September. She said she was not familiar with the latest incident.

Colleyville police Detective Doug Huseman said Volosen had a right to protect his animals in September. But he had no dead or injured animals after the latest incident, Huseman said.

The Labrador's owner, Pati Coplon, said the behavior that Volosen described sounded uncharacteristic of her 6-year-old dog, Coty.  "At the time, it just really devastated us because our hands were tied," she said. "We couldn't prove this was wrong."

Update 7/11/03:  About 25 people staged a peaceful rally outside Pet Doctor Animal Hospital to protest the deaths of two dogs they say were killed by veterinarian Mircea Volosen of Colleyville, who works at the hospital.

For more than an hour, the protesters marched in front of the business, carrying signs and speaking to customers and passing motorists who slowed or stopped.

Leigh Ann Rodriguez, 38, of Colleyville was holding a poster board that said, "Our neighbor, your vet, kills a dog for entering yard (ask us how)."

Volosen was not at work during the protest, said Rocky McKelvey, president of Animal Healthcare of Texas, which owns the Richardson animal hospital.

He said Volosen has worked at the animal hospital since late 2001. Volosen asked for a few days off work to deal with the situation, McKelvey said.

"I certainly can't ever condone killing an animal like that," McKelvey said. "That's certainly not something that should happen. ...

"It sounds pretty atrocious, but I just know Dr. Volosen well enough to know there's probably more to the story. I can't imagine he'd kill a dog for no reason at all. It's not like him."

Rebecca, 27, of Richardson is a customer of Volosen's who did not want to give her last name. Volosen treats her basset hound, Gunther, she said.  "I prefer that doctor because he's really nice," she said as she left the animal hospital. "He calms my dog down."

The protesters said they wanted to send a message that Volosen's veterinary license should be revoked and to let his customers know what had happened.

"If it saves one dog, or if someone takes their dog to a different vet, to a compassionate vet, then I think we've done something constructive," Rodriguez said.

The Labrador's owners, Pati and Mahlon Coplon of Colleyville, were at the protest, as were Michelle Ball, her children and many friends, relatives, neighbors and their dogs. The protesters did not enter the hospital, and most of them left after about an hour.

"These are two neighborhood pets that go up to the bus stop to play with kids in the morning," Mahlon Coplon said. "These are two pets that didn't deserve to die this violently."

Update 9/5/03:  Dr. Mircea Volosen could face up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted of killing neighbor Kevin Ball's miniature dachshund after the dog entered a chicken coop on Dr. Volosen's property July 4.

William Cox III, Dr. Volosen's attorney, said his client was surprised and disappointed at the indictment. Mr. Cox said the dog was eating chickens and rabbits that Dr. Volosen kept in a coop in his yard at the time of the incident.

"We believe he was lawfully protecting his flock and being a good shepherd," said Mr. Cox. "This is the second time the dog was back there, and I guess the owner didn't care. I think clearly under the law, you're allowed to protect your livestock."

In previous interviews with The Dallas Morning News, Mr. Ball said his dog did not attack any of Dr. Volosen's animals preceding the incident.  He said his dog was running toward him and away from Dr. Volosen when the veterinarian struck and killed the dog.

Caryn Hutchinson, a neighbor of Dr. Volosen's, said that she has known the veterinarian for nine years and that killing an animal without reason was not in his character.

In July, the Balls and a group of their neighbors picketed VCA Pet Doctor Animal Hospital, the Richardson veterinary clinic where Dr. Volosen practiced at the time of the incident. Dr. Rocky McKelvey, who owns the clinic, said Dr. Volosen has since resigned.

"It was real stressful on him," said Dr. McKelvey. "He sat down and talked to us and thought it was best to resign."

Mr. Cox said his client still practices veterinary medicine, helping various clinics on a freelance basis.

Many of the protesters said they wanted Dr. Volosen's veterinary license revoked. Ron Allen, executive director of the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, said he was familiar with the case but could not comment on whether or not any complaints had been filed against Dr. Volosen.

"This doesn't directly relate to his practice," said Mr. Allen. "He was acting as an animal owner defending his animals."

Another Colleyville resident, Pati Coplon, 41, said Dr. Volosen also killed her black Labrador.

According to a Sept. 26, 2002 Colleyville police report, Dr. Volosen hit the dog on the head with a blunt object, killing the animal. The report came from a complaint Dr. Volosen filed in which he told police he had tried to get the dog out of a pen on his property after it killed some of his animals, but the dog tried to bite him.

No charges were filed against Dr. Volosen in that case.

Ms. Coplon, who helped organize the July protest, had mixed emotions when she heard of the indictment because she knows Dr. Volosen has a family to support.  "I think given that this happened more than once, it's kind of hard to let it go and say it was a one-time thing and he lost his temper," she said. "I guess in the end, justice has a way of prevailing."

Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Jim Renforth said a trial date has not yet been set.

Update 10/23/03:  Three board members of a nonprofit Denton animal clinic recently resigned after learning that the clinic's primary surgeon was a Colleyville veterinarian accused of killing his neighbor's dog.

The Texas Coalition for Animal Protection board members resigned after an Oct. 10 meeting in which director Stacey Mitchel announced she had hired Dr. Volosen.

"I was so shocked and horrified that we were having this discussion," said Bekye Walker, one of the three people who resigned.

The coalition operates the Denton Low Cost Spay and Neuter Program.

Kathleen Chaplin said she resigned because she did not agree with Ms. Mitchel's hiring decision.  "His surgeries may be wonderful, they may be absolutely terrific, but there's just something wrong with harboring someone who can do that to animals," she said.

Ms. Walker said that once she learned that Dr. Volosen had been hired, she wanted to end her association with the clinic.  "I wanted nothing to do with anyone who could hire a veterinarian who could beat animals to death," she said. "At the time I resigned I had no idea that anyone else felt the same way."

The third board member to resign was Diane Randolph.

Ms. Chaplin said Ms. Mitchel did not present the decision to hire Dr. Volosen to the board. Neither Ms. Chaplin nor Ms. Walker knew when Dr. Volosen began working at the clinic.

Tommie Kirksmith, who also serves on the board, supports Ms. Mitchel's decision.  "People don't realize what a tough job it is finding a vet willing and able to perform sterilization surgery and doing a good job of it," Ms. Kirksmith said.  She said she has taken five dogs to Dr. Volosen and he is capable as a veterinarian and the clinic has had no problems with him.

Dr. Volosen is still in good standing with the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. Executive Director Ron Allen said he could not comment on whether the board was investigating the veterinarian.

Update 7/13/04:  A Colleyville man testified that he apologized when his miniature dachshund ran into a neighbor's back yard, then watched in disbelief as the neighbor, a veterinarian, killed the dog with a log-splitting mallet.

But the veterinarian's wife, Natalia Volosen, told visiting state District Judge C.C. "Kit" Cooke that four chickens the couple kept in the yard died after the trauma of being chased by Ginger, the 2-year-old dachshund.

  (Photos courtesy of The Dallas Morning News - photo of Ginger and of Dr. Volosen in court)  The testimony came on the first day of the trial of veterinarian Mircea Volosen, 45, on a charge of animal cruelty. Volosen did not testify. He has said that there had been problems with loose dogs getting into his back yard, where he kept a rabbit and laying hens.

A Canadian veterinarian testified that dachshunds were bred years ago to hunt badgers.  "Killing is their nature," said Liviu Pogan, a veterinarian in Montreal and friend of Volosen's. "They are fighters."

Defense attorneys and state prosecutors rested their cases after a day full of testimony about the police investigation, laying hens and laws regarding loose dogs.

Volosen has waived a jury trial.

Cooke will decide the guilt or innocence of the Colleyville veterinarian. About 50 relatives and friends of Volosen's packed the courtroom.

In opening testimony, Ball said Ginger had escaped his back yard at least four to six times, three times ending up in Volosen's back yard.  "The dog should not have been in his back yard," Ball testified. "But the dog should not have been killed."  Ball told Cooke that he yelled at his wife to get his gun after Ginger was hit.  "She did not bring it to me," Ball said.

Ball has filed a civil lawsuit against the veterinarian, who has since moved away from the neighborhood.

Colleyville police officer Roy Walling testified that there were no dead chickens in Volosen's back yard on July 4, 2003.

But Ball and a neighbor, Robert Johnson, told Cooke that they heard chickens fluttering in Volosen's back yard just seconds after Ginger turned up missing from Ball's back yard.

Update 7/14/04:  Judge C.C. "Kit" Cooke convicted Dr. Volosen, 45, at the Tarrant County Justice Center in Fort Worth of a felony animal-cruelty count stemming from the July 4, 2003, incident.

"We're lucky this didn't become a murder case," Assistant District Attorney Walt Junker said. "The biggest lesson is to try and get along with your neighbors and don't take the law into your own hands. This didn't have to go this far."

Dr. Volosen's attorneys, however, said their client was simply protecting chickens in the coop the dog was in. They plan to appeal.  "I think the law is very clear about being able to protect your property," defense attorney Bryan Buchanan said. "We feel like there was insufficient evidence."

Dr. Volosen did not react visibly to the verdict read to a courtroom full of his supporters.  "I think he's pretty much in shock," Mr. Buchanan said.  Dr. Volosen was expected to post $5,000 bail and be released.

He faces up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine when he is sentenced later this summer. If sent to prison, he will lose his veterinary license. And even if he avoids prison, the state licensing board could revoke his right to practice.

Ron Allen, executive director for the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, said the board will wait for the sentence before taking action.The prosecution argued that the dog posed no threat to Dr. Volosen's animals and that it was walking toward its owner when struck. A police officer testified that he found no dead chickens the day the dog was killed.

"Nobody is saying both sides are innocent, but Dr. Volosen took it to the next level," Mr. Junker said.

Mr. Junker said the case could have started and ended with a $100 fine to the Balls for failing to keep their dog on a leash.

Mr. Junker said he could hear Dr. Volosen's supporters boo and hiss him as he argued his case.  "There was plenty of tension and drama in the courtroom," he said.

Mr. Buchanan described his client as a Romanian immigrant who fled a communist government so he could practice medicine and be free to raise animals.  "That's been taken away from him today," he said.

About a dozen of his supporters prayed in the hallway before the judge read the verdict. After the conviction, one woman sat outside the courtroom and wept.  "He doesn't hate animals, he loves them," said Valentin Oancea of Rockwall. "He's a very Christian man."

Update 8/21/04:  Judge C.C. "Kit" Cooke suspended a one-year jail sentence for Mircea Volosen 's felony animal-cruelty conviction and ordered him to serve two years' probation and to undergo anger control counseling.

He also must perform 200 hours of community service or donate $2,500 to the Humane Society of North Texas.

Judge Cooke required that Dr. Volosen, 45, undergo counseling, saying that he lost his temper in the incident.

He had faced up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Mick Meyer, one of Dr. Volosen's attorneys, declined to comment because the case is under appeal.

Assistant District Attorney Walt Junker supported the judge's sentencing and said he was confident the verdict will stand up under appeal.

Mrs. Ball agreed with the judge's ruling.  "I wanted him to receive some kind of punishment," she said. "I'm really happy that he's getting some treatment, especially the anger management. If he had gone to jail, I think he would have come out more angry than he is now."

She said her new dog Buddy, a golden retriever, has given her husband and three daughters solace after the incident.

It's unclear whether Dr. Volosen will lose his license to practice veterinary medicine.

Ron Allen, executive director for the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, said the board will investigate once appeals have been exhausted.

Update 6/30/09:  Dr. Volosen is still licensed by the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.

Reference:

The Dallas Morning News

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

TX SBVME