Michigan veterinarian charged in death of his own pet

November 7, 2018

Practitioner is back in legal trouble following a July 2018 incident.

A Huron Township, Michigan, veterinarian has been charged in the July 2018 death of his own dog, according to the Wayne County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney. Martin McLaughlin, DVM, reportedly left his Labrador retriever in a vehicle, possibly leading to the pet's death.

“It is alleged that McLaughlin went into his home and left his dog inside his car overnight in extreme heat,” a release from the prosecutor's office states. “The following morning, it is alleged that McLaughlin discovered the lifeless dog inside his car.”

Dr. McLaughlin has been charged with two misdemeanors: abandoning/cruelty to an animal resulting in death and abandoning/cruelty to an animal, according to the prosecutor's office. The former is punishable by up to one year in jail under Michigan law.

Educate veterinary clients that hot cars kill pets

Though it seems like it should be common knowledge, it's still worthwhile to remind people that hot vehicles can kill. Here, the intrepid Dr. Ernie Ward demonstrates just how brutal it can be in a closed up vehicle.

Meanwhile, Detroit's WXYZ reports that the veterinarian has attributed the dog's death to other possible factors:

"[Dr. McLaughlin] didn't think being left in the hot vehicle caused his dog to die. [He] claimed Trigger was having some stomach issues the day before," the television station's news story reads.

Trigger has since been buried without necropsy, according to WXYZ.

This isn't Dr. McLaughlin's first encounter with authorities, according to local reports. The Huron Daily Tribune reported in 2010 that Dr. McLaughlin was sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty to malicious destruction of property. In that incident, he fired a shotgun on a pickup following an argument with the truck's owner.

It is expected that Dr. McLaughlin will turn himself in for arraignment on November 14, the prosecutor's office states.