Former Special Memories Zoo veterinarian Thomas Young reprimanded for unprofessional conduct


Wisconsin veterinarian Dr. Thomas Young has been reprimanded for unprofessional conduct.

Dr. Thomas Young of High Cliff Veterinary Services, former veterinarian at Wisconsin’s now-closed Special Memories Zoo, has been reprimanded by the Wisconsin Veterinary Examining Board for unprofessional conduct based on the board’s investigation into Young’s treatment of the animals at the roadside zoo.


In a complaint submitted to the veterinary board earlier this year, former Special Memories Zoo employees alleged that in 2020 Young was called to inspect 18 decaying animals on the zoo property that zookeeper Gretchen Crowe admitted she hadn’t checked on in more than two months.



Young determined the animals died of botulism from eating contaminated hay. Young did not conduct any medical tests to make that determination and instead diagnosed the illness based on the position the decaying corpses were found in, which he referred to as a “sleeping position.”



Young failed to explain how the large sulcata tortoise found dead on the property could have died of botulism, since he said the botulism was spread through contaminated hay, and presumably the tortoise was consuming a different diet than the goats, sheep and cattle found decaying on the property.


Facebook photo of Gretchen Crowe.

Young’s diagnosis of the deceased Special Memories Zoo animals directly contributed to the Outagamie Sheriff’s Office’s refusal to recommend animal neglect charges be brought against Crowe.


During the veterinary board’s investigation into Young, the board asked for proof that he had completed the 30 hours of continuing education that was required for the 2018-2019 licensing year. Young provided evidence that he had completed only 3.5 hours of the required continuing education. The veterinary board determined that Young engaged in unprofessional conduct by falsely certifying to the board that he had completed the required continuing education.


The veterinary board was unable to substantiate the complaints about Young’s treatment of the Special Memories Zoo animals. Young was issued a Stipulation and Final Decision for unprofessional conduct. He was ordered to complete 26.5 hours of scientific continuing education within 90 days of the October 2021 stipulation. Dr. Young was also ordered to pay costs in the amount of $130.05.

Dr. Thomas Young Stipulation and Final Decision:

21 VET 008 Young Stip and FDO 0005165 Signed
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