Upstate SC veterinarian charged with ill treatment of animals after Facebook video goes viral

According to WYFF4 News, a Pickens County veterinarian has been arrested and charged with ill treatment of animals after a Facebook video showing him striking a dog went viral. There is a lot of anger on Facebook because people rightly expect decent standards of animal welfare by veterinarians.

arrest photo Dr. McKee
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Dr. Robert McKee, 64, has been a veterinarian since 1986. McKee, who practices veterinary medicine at Foothills Animal Hospital on Moorefield Memorial Highway in Liberty, was secretly recorded using a cell phone by a witness as he struck a dog named Micah.

Word quickly spread and Micah’s owner came to the clinic to pick up the dog. McKee claims he took Micah in after employees found him outside the clinic.

McKee, who turned himself over to Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Friday morning, defended his actions stating

“I was walking it about 10 times a day, I was feeding it, and trying to care for it. I was trying to break it of barking. It was an 18- 19-week-old puppy that had just started sprouting its teeth.

I went back and asked it to be quiet, be quiet, be quiet, that did not work, McKee said. “I hit it, or whatever term you want to use, with three fingers on its forehead three times, is what the report said, I thought it was four. And said ‘no’ each time, I was trying to reinforce that.”

McKee stated in an interview with Fox Carolina News that he’d just brought Micah in from playtime and the dog was barking at other pets. He doesn’t consider what he did as being wrong or cruel.


Chief Deputy Creed Hashe said the Sheriff’s Office Animal Enforcement Unit began an investigation after viewing the video. Hash stated in a press release their office “have not uncovered any evidence that would indicate that the physical striking of the animal was in the course of any veterinary practice or pursuant to a medical procedure.”

While Micah didn’t suffer any physical signs of abuse, some clients have already asked for their animal’s records be transferred to another clinic. Others have supported Dr. McKee who added

“I do work very, very, very hard at trying to help animals. I’m a believer in doing the right thing. I believe, seriously, that I was trying to help this dog. It is heartbreaking to have this happen, but I know that either I’ll get through it, or I won’t, and I’m trying to put one foot in front of the other.”

McKee was arraigned in front of a Pickens County Magistrate and was released on a $3,000 recognizance bond. Since the ill treatment of animals is a misdemeanor in South Carolina, the maximum punishment is up to 90 days in jail and $1,000 fine.

Most likely the damage to his reputation will be a far greater punishment than anything the legal community can hand down.

Those closer to the situation and former and current employees and clients please feel free to comment.

Facebook Rating of 1.3

Because of him the hospital where he works has a 1.3 out of 5 rating on Facebook! This demonstrates the power of viral social media. And one former employee says the following on FB:

Sonya Brightman —1 star – I see you have gone back to being abusive. I worked for you 20 +years ago and left because of your abuse and threatening me. I am so happy that Karma has finally came to you. Thank goodness for technology and the person who took the video. Anyone who has seen behind the scenes knows you are Dr. Jeckel Mr. Hyde…I am just sorry that I and other employees were not mature enough then to file charges against you for the abuse.

NOTE: There are other clinics in the upstate area around Greenville County who are being bashed by people who don’t realize the veterinary clinic involved in the incident is solely the one located in Liberty.

6 thoughts on “Upstate SC veterinarian charged with ill treatment of animals after Facebook video goes viral”

  1. As an animal lover, rescuer, trainer and advocate I know that physical abuse does nothing to stop a dog, especially a puppy, from their negative behavior. What does work is positive reinforcement, praise, treats, repetition- abuse only scares and scars the dog.
    I have never believed in striking animals but if I know this through my years of owning and rescuing these sweet furries, how does an educated veterinarian not know this?
    He was angry and took it out on that poor puppy.
    This is one of the times I thank God for technology and that whoever filmed this abuse was in the right place at the right time although it seems they knew this was going to happen, why else would they have stated filming? That means it has happened enough the staff was ready with their cameras to catch and expose this fake.
    Then for him to show absolutely no remorse and try to excuse and downplay his actions? You could hear how hard those “3 or 4” fingers hit that puppy.
    I hope everyone shares this so the remaining pet parents can remove their babies from that office.

    It is NEVER okay to hit an animal as part of their “training”. I just wish the penalty was stiffer, especially for vets, groomers, boarders and anyone else entrusted with the care of our furry loved ones.

    • Thanks Karen for your excellent comment with which I wholeheartedly agree. I’d like to find out who filmed him.

  2. Hope he is forced to retire by the lack of business if they do not take his license away, he is arrogant and has no remorse and did not even apologize, just defended his disgusting behavior. I wonder how many other should-have-retired criminal, arrogant, abusive vets are still out there, just in it for the money. Of course it does not rule out that a younger vet could also be cruel. Specifically the vet who shot Tiger with an arrow and bragged about it on Facebook. If she did that to my cat I do not know if I would have had the patience for justice to be served but luckily in this case it was. Other cats or dogs may never see justice served. It is very crucial to know who you are trusting the care of your pet to.

    • Veterinarians should have a better status but they undermine their status by these sorts of events and declawing.

  3. The vet has no clue about animal training, how learning happens or how psychological trauma is caused. He has lost the compassion that we are all born with

    He seems to have history of abusive behaviour towards animals.

    He does know about putting on a performance to garner pity, doesn’t look like it is working on the reviewers !

    He should lose his licence. There will be other animals has harmed.

  4. Stories about veterinarians going wrong are always interesting and disturbing. They always create a lot of anger amongst cat and dog owners for the obvious reason that veterinarians must set the standard for animal welfare. They must have high standards of animal welfare at their clinic. They are looked up to as people who set the standard and who can guide the community in respect of animal welfare issues. When they fail in that respect they are vilified. It happens occasionally and he’s not the first vet that to fail in this way.

    I don’t think he has the right mindset any more to be a decent veterinarian. Perhaps he has been doing too long or perhaps he never had the correct attitude. To the best of my knowledge, student veterinarians are never assessed with respect to their attitude towards animals when they enroll on a university course. And yet the attitude of the person is vital as to how well they carry out their duties over decades as a veterinarian.

    I suspect that this veterinarian will be dismissed from his employment at this hospital because on Facebook the hospital has a 1.3 out of 5 rating. This is because a lot of people have gone to their Facebook page and given a one star rating to the hospital and criticized the veterinarian. One employee who worked with this man for 20 years says that he has a Jekyll and Hyde character. She implies that it was only a matter of time before he was found out.


Leave a Comment

follow it link and logo