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.

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