An all too familiar story in the animal welfare world has ended in needless tragedy.
In August 2013, a Good Samaritan found a sickly cat in a park in the Bronx and took him to Gentle Hands vet clinic. The clinic’s owner, Dr. Shirley Koshi, took him in and nursed him back to health. Several weeks later, Gwen Jurmark showed up at the clinic demanding the cat, called Karl, be given to her. Ms. Jurmark claimed Karl was part of a maintained colony of cats who live at the park. She believed she had legal standing to claim Karl due to the fact that she had paid for his neuter surgery some years back. Ms. Jurmark filed a lawsuit against Dr. Koshi in October after she refused to give Karl to her.
Dr. Koshi became the target of a cyberbullying campaign. (I’m only including one link as an example because I don’t want to provide these people with any more traffic than is necessary but you can Google to find more if you are so inclined.) Ms. Jurmark also led a protest outside the Gentle Hands clinic.
[Veterinary technician Will] Page said business at Gentle Hands, which Koshi opened last July, nosedived in the aftermath of the protest. Koshi told Page she’d exhausted her savings to keep the clinic running, and a flood last month damaged the office.
“Besides financial problems, the lawsuit drove her over the edge,” Page said.
Dr. Koshi was found dead in her apartment on February 16, an apparent victim of suicide. Authorities reportedly took the pets from her apartment, including Karl, to the NYC pound. Ms. Jurmark went to the pound following Dr. Koshi’s suicide and got Karl back.
(Thank you Valerie and Clarice for links on this story.)
If you need someone to talk to, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 anytime, day or night.
As far as this tiny corner of the blogosphere goes, I am doing my best to err on the side of caution and quickly toss anyone who comes across as a potential That Guy.