Pet cemetery owner accuses vet of theft - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Pet cemetery owner accuses vet of theft

by Mindy Aguon

Guam - The owner of Rainbow Bridge Pet Crematory is accusing a local veterinarian of theft and he's asked local law enforcement authorities to investigate. Rainbow Bridge Pet Crematory is one of only two places on Guam where you can take your deceased pets to be cremated.

Owner Dennis Larsen was alarmed to hear that a local veterinarian was supposedly still using his services when he stopped doing business with him since December. "In the end, people would pay him for the service and then when I would go to collect my money he would say, 'I'm sorry, I don't have any money because I had to spend it all on attorney's fees,'" he recalled.

Larsen continued, "I don't appreciate that he used my company to deceive people and fraud people so today we did file an official complaint with the Guam Police Department, with the Attorney General's Office and with the Guam Allied Health Board. It's called 'theft by deception'."

Larsen claims there are at least nine animals that were taken to the Wise Owl Animal Clinic in Tamuning and the pet owners had paid for cremation services. Only problem is, he says he never received the animals and doesn't know where they are. "We have no idea," said Larsen. "I just hope that they're somewhere being held so when we get to the bottom of this they can be properly cremated."

KUAM News went directly to the source, Dr. Joel Joseph, who was only available via phone this afternoon. Apparently, he's got the same question.

"Where are the bodies? Ask Dennis. Where are the bodies? How come he left a body in my morgue since October? And he's already admitted this," the veterinarian stated. When reminded that it was Dr. Joseph himself that told KUAM News that it was him who took the four dogs and had them cremated, he responded, "The four bodies that were there, yes they were cremated."

Dr. Joseph claims there were only four dogs - not nine that Larsen claims were never picked up. While he admits to having the dogs cremated, Dr. Joseph refused to disclose where this happened, telling KUAM News that he entered into a private agreement for the benefit of the animals and his clients, to have the dogs cremated somewhere on the island.  While there had been discussion about the cremation occurring at a funeral home, Joseph denied ever saying that.

The story, which first appeared in the Pacific Daily News on Wednesday, prompted a joint statement to be released today by Ada's Mortuary and Our Lady of Peace, the only two funeral homes with crematoriums locally. Vicente Ada and Phil Flores state their cremation services are strictly for human remains and that their companies do not engage in pet cremations. They have not provided nor will they provide pet cremation services to anyone.

"They're out there somewhere," said Larsen, "and we just want to do right by these customers. On the other hand, you need to be careful when you have this kind of service done be sure that your using a reputable company, somebody that actually can perform the service."

While Larsen has filed complaints against Dr. Joseph, the Wise Owl Animal Clinic owner says he'll be filing his own criminal complaint against Larsen and his wife, accusing them of stealing documents and records and trespassing in his clinic. Meanwhile, he admits he has several animals in his morgue and is making arrangements to have these pets returned to their owners.

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