Board lifts suspension on vet convicted of cruelty

A Chester County veterinarian, who was convicted of animal abuse, can once again practice medicine. 

A spokesman confirmed that the state Board of Veterinary Medicine last month lifted the temporary suspension imposed on Tom Stevenson of Honeybrook in May 2009. 

Kevin Murphy, public relations director for the Department of State, said the board would issue its final order in the near future.

Stevenson, who as operator of Twin Valley Veterinary Clinic was the veterinarian of record for some of the largest commercial dog breeding kennels in the state, was charged with animal cruelty in March 2009 after a Pennsylvania SPCA agent and another witness said they saw him cut off a piece of a 9-week-old puppy's tail without anesthesia at a Lancaster County kennel.

Lancaster County magisterial district court judge Stuart Mylin found Stevenson guilty of animal cruelty in December.

Stevenson's license was suspended in May 2009 after the medical board determined he posed a "clear and immediate danger to public safety."

At a hearing before the board in Harrisburg in December, state prosecutor Shawn Smith said Stevenson performed surgery in a filthy sink using unsterilized industrial scissors and scalded the poodle-mix puppy in the process.

"The conditions in the kennel were deplorable," said Smith. "He ran the sink water until it steamed and held the puppy under water while the puppy screamed."

Smith said Stevenson violated medical protocols by not prepping or cleaning his own hands, the instruments or the puppy and for failing to anesthetize the dog or to properly clean and bandage the wound. Smith said he then sold the puppy to an undercover agent for $200.

Stevenson's attorney said he was performing "first aid" on a tail that had been accidently severed by the kennel owner during grooming and that he cut off the remaining piece of tail because it could have gotten caught in the wire cage bottom.

Stevenson's clinic has been operated by his wife, Pam Stevenson, who is also a veterinarian, since the board ordered the suspension.