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Donor Madeleine Pickens refuses to fund OSU vet work

BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL Modified: February 24, 2009 at 10:35 am •  Published: February 24, 2009
STILLWATER — Madeleine Pickens isn’t sure how her $5 million donation to Oklahoma State University will be spent, but she’s sure it won’t be at the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences.

Two months ago, she said she would give the money to the veterinary program, but Monday she sent a letter to OSU President Burns Hargis asking her donation go elsewhere.

"I haven’t changed my mind about the donation,” she said. "It’s still going to go to OSU. But I’m very concerned about the practices at the vet school.”

Pickens said she particularly takes issue with the practice of buying animals from dealers and then performing multiple operations on those animals before they are euthanized. Pickens described the dealers as "less than reputable.” She said she heard this information from a student in the OSU veterinary program.

"We live in the 21st century,” she said, "and we have new ways of doing things.”

Pickens said she and Michael Lorenz, dean of the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, have different philosophies.

Lorenz issued a statement through the OSU press office after declining interviews with the media.

Lorenz said the information Pickens received was mostly incorrect.

"No more than two surgeries are performed on any dog,” Lorenz said in his statement.

"Terminal dog surgeries are used at the majority of the United States veterinary colleges.”

For the past few months, Lorenz and his faculty have been looking to expand their surgical program to work with local shelter animals, OSU spokesman Gary Shutt said. The program would allow students to operate on animals and then return them to the shelter for adoption.

ALSO ...
Animals at Oklahoma vet techs
The three veterinary technology programs in Oklahoma all use live animals in their training.

Murray State College in Tishomingo
The college has a partnership with the Ardmore animal shelter, said Carey Floyd, director of the veterinary technology program. The students examine the animals and perform lab work. They also assist Floyd with spaying and neutering the animals by administering anesthesia and completing other tasks. If the animal needs to be euthanized, the students will assist Floyd with the procedure. The students practice on models before working with the animals, she said.

Oklahoma State University- Oklahoma City
Students perform exams on their own dogs, spokeswoman Evelyn Bollenbach said. The students are allowed to bring their own animals in the classroom for practice work. The students also work shifts helping with surgical prep and recovery at the Oklahoma City animal shelter.

Tulsa Community College
Students spend an entire semester with the shelter animals they work with, said Jan Weaver, coordinator of the school’s vet tech program. The program adopts animals from the Sand Springs animal shelter, and students spend the semester practicing such techniques as deworming and health exams. At the end of the semester, students find responsible adopters to keep the animals.


Madeleine Pickens, wife of OSU alumnus T. Boone Pickens wants a $5 million donation redirected from the veterinary school because of how animals are used there.


Read OSU’s response to Pickens’ donation flap.


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