OJAI (CBS) — A veterinarian in Ventura County was attacked by a man upset that his dog died during a surgery.

Dr. Steve Sallen, of Ojai, was operating on Scott Wayne Doombos’ dog when the rare African breed passed away, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. The female dog, “Zeeka”, was being treated for a life-threatening infection.

(credit: CBS)

Upon hearing the news, Doombos drove to the veterinarian’s office and confronted him. Doombos said he was upset and attacked the animal doctor, causing him serious injuries.

Sallen suffered a broken nose, severe bruising and swelling to his left eye, where he had stitches applied.

“I’m terribly, terribly sorry that that had transpired. I had no intention of hurting anybody or anything,” Doombos said.

“We lost our loved one and I’m sure that [the veterinarian is] upset at losing a patient,” Doombos said. “It’s just something that went terribly wrong and, unfortunately, my dog was caught in the middle of this.”

(credit: CBS)

Doombos drove to the Ojai Police Department and turned himself in Thursday, authorities said.

Police said Doombos was arrested and will face a felony charge of battery with serious bodily injury. He was booked in the Ventura County jail and posted $20,000 bail. Doombos said that the incident was his first criminal offense.

Doombos admits that emotions were high and that tempers flared on both sides after he found out his best friend and family member died while in Dr. Sallen’s care.

“I talked to my dog like a child and told her everything was going to be OK and that she was going to be just fine. And, then, for that to happen, I can’t believe after the reassuring phone call [came] the disheartening phone call,” Doombos said.

He said no one at the Ojai Village Veterinary Hospital explained to him why or how Zeeka died.

Dr. Sallen would not appear on camera but family members told CBS2 that the injuries were disturbing and that the assault was unprovoked.

Comments (39)
  1. BoPop says:

    Doombos? No wonder.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Dr. Sallen did not kill this dog. The owners should have had their dog spayed when she was young. When your dog is truely a part of your family, you have them altered. You dont use them to make a buck…

      1. PeopleSuck!!!! says:

        Where does it say the dog was getting spayed?!!!! Learn to read!!!! “The female dog, “Zeeka”, was being treated for a life-threatening infection.”

  2. Wolfman says:

    Wrong Vet ?

  3. joeswanson says:

    So what happens to the vet? Can the guy sue the vet for negligence which caused his dog to die during surgery?

    1. O_O says:

      Sue the vet for negligence? Where in the article or by anyone’s statements does it say the vet was negligent? You must be one of those ambulance-chasers. How sad for you, joeswanson. Living things die all the time for no reason and by no one’s fault. Get a life.

      1. Christina39 says:

        I agree. When one of you people find a vet who never loses an animals, please post me here. Christina39 and that goes for the paramedic who can post me when he finds a doctor who never loses a patient.

    2. KimGee says:

      there was no negligence on the part of the Vet. The dog went in for a surgery for a LIFE THREATENING illness. The Vet did not ’cause’ the dog to ‘die during surgery’. The dog was likely to die either way. …

    3. jj becket says:

      did the vet cause the dog to die you ass. life threatening infection means get surgery or die. of course everyone blames the provider when things go wrong, but rarely realize that it can happen – WAKE UP.

  4. Christina39 says:

    Come on people. I am an animal lover, but animals die. Dumbo did a crazy thing! Doctors aren’t God. They do the best they can.

    1. PatricParamedic says:

      Mike –

      You are a living, breathing example that any troglodyte with a keyboard, can pound out verbal smegma for all to see.

      Forget “grow a pair”

      Try growing a part that thinks without pooping up the cosmos.

      1. Christina39 says:

        Is this some kind of code. Like every third letter multiplied by the numerical value of the last letter in the sentence, etc. Because you can’t be for real.

    1. O_O says:

      You really meant to say you hope and pray the vet makes a speedy recovery, right?

      1. jim says:

        i could careless about the vet, he sounds like a jerk for not explaining how the dog went. that’s the guys best friend and deserved to know the cause.

      2. Roger Thornhill says:

        Jim, what do you do for a living? I want to contract for services with you, then if I don’t like it, I’ll punch you in the face. Fair enough?

  5. Frank says:

    Fire the fat ass, attacking vet for no reason

    1. greggory says:

      guy’s name says it all, dumbo

  6. Bruce says:

    “It’s just something that went terribly wrong and, unfortunately, my dog was caught in the middle of this.”

    Just one more example of someone who takes no responsibility and has no context.

    The dog was not caught in the middle of this. Sick patients die especially those with terrible infections. That is unfortunate. Stabbing the doctor is sociopathic. Just take responsibility.

    And Patric, do you really believe that doctors are so callous and uncaring that the threat of physical harm will improve their performance? Wow, that’s pretty bad. And you’re a paramedic? Scarey.

    1. PatricParamedic says:

      Bruce said:

      “And Patric, do you really believe that doctors are so callous and uncaring that the threat of physical harm will improve their performance? Wow, that’s pretty bad. And you’re a paramedic? Scarey..”

      No, Bruce. I’m not the one who’s scary. Like most folks I suppose, you’re likely simply too busy with your life to do the research that my peers & I have been doing for years. Here are but a few highlights for you:

      1. More doctors are found guilty of felony-level behavior each day, than any other group of professionals. (Almost exactly 50/week.

      2. The Nat’l Practitioner Data Bank tracks physicians considered “Dangerous” or “Questionable.” Any idea how many they had in their files 5 years ago?


      3. 5 of the top 9 “worst child molesters in U.S. history” – according to the FBI – are doctors, now in prisons.

      4. We have – as nearly as we can tell – 419 MDs in prison for Murder.

      And if that doesn’t open your eyes, listen to this: in the 2 1/2 years since Conrad Murray was charged with Michael Jackson’s death, 2,710 – that we know if – OTHER MDs have been found Guilty of felony-level deeds.

      5.Oh, and Bruce? How much do you know about your doctor’s background? Probably nothing, because the AMA has done an excellent job of convincing our legislators that whether your doctor has a string of crimes behind him, is none of your business. But here’s one last item they cannot hide:

      “Bad doctors and errant health care is one of the top 3 causes of death (right after Cancer & Heart Disease) killing 400+ innocent folks everyday of the year.”**

      Do yourself and your family a big favor: use Google to look up the book, “America’s Dumbest Doctors.” It just might save your life.

      ** Sidney Wolfe, MD Director, Health Research Group

  7. Erin says:

    After this incident if I was a veterinarian (male or female) I would always have a loaded gun on me while in the office. if another lunatic like this comes in I would shot to kill in self defense. We all know that killing is not right but if one had the choice of receiving this abuse or killing I would kill 100% of the time. This loser will of course plea guilty in exchange for a few days in jail and a big fine. This is a case of no, I will not accept your apology because you should be dead.

  8. 007 says:


    1. 000 says:


      1. PatricParamedic says:

        You’re a great example of why we put undisciplined, bi-pedal animals in cages.

        And, why my peers & I will always have a job.

    2. Cyn507 says:

      And if a dr tried to save a childs life and couldnt, he shouldnt be assaulted for it. There is no excuse for that type of behavior. Someone with a temper like that shouldnt even own an animal. He is an animzl.

  9. joe says:

    Whenever a love one, be it a human or an animal, dies on someone’s care, the first instinct of some people is to blame that person who provided the care.

    We all seem to want to have a happy ending on a suffering of our love ones. We want to see them live forever during our lifetime so that we can enjoy their company. But the truth is, we are all just a bunch of beings made up of living cells that eventually dies.

    A few of us studied to become medical doctors hoping to preserve life. But life always ends. It is true that sometimes life ends due to negligence. But before we start accusing the medical provider of negligence, let us first accept the fact that these doctors does not hold the license to preserve life FOREVER. We just need to ask them to show proof that everything was provided to preserve life.

    God is the one that holds the key to our lives and the lives of every living cell in this planet. Doctors can only pray to God for guidance. Ultimately, God will decide the outcome of every life in this planet and the whole universe.

  10. PatricParamedic says:

    Christina39 said:

    “When one of you people find a vet who never loses an animals, please post me here. Christina39 and that goes for the paramedic who can post me when he finds a doctor who never loses a patient.”

    Christina –

    You seem to be under the impression that I am faulting doctors who behave ethically; try their best; and lose a patient who just isn’t going to be saved.

    I have no qualms at all with competent, compassionate MDs “losing” a patient. I happen to be a competent, compassionate Paramedic, and I’ve lost a thousand.

    The focus of my anger is doctors who kill patients deliberately, and/or their egos allow them to perform dangerous, totally unnecessary surgeries.

    And in case you are unaware, that happens more than 1,000,000 times a year in this country.

  11. NAF says:

    If the idiot spayed his dog (the dog most likely had pyometra caused by the OWNER not the dog), it would not have had such complications. It’s the owner’s fault for being so naive and ignorant. Spaying a female dog would not cause such life-threatening issues like pyometra in the reproductive tract. That is why “breeders” and the like are really not smart- they do not know how they put their pet’s lives in danger as the pets age and they keep breeding them. There is no excuse for injuring anyone for any reason, it’s the law.

    1. cbwyss says:

      Perfectly said. I agree completely; couldn’t say it better myself.

  12. unbelievableinojai says:

    Don’t apologies usually include actually admitting YOU DID WRONG? This guy takes no responsibility for what he did.

  13. Jon H. says:

    That’s the most ignorant thing I;ve heard today. No way you can really be a paramedic. Those indididuals have a lot more intelligence and common sense!

    1. PatricParamedic says:

      Jon –

      Please explain. I really want to understand your reaction. (Doctors have) “A lot more intelligence & common sense” than what?

  14. Patricia says:

    This is a very poorly written, inaccurate article. Refer to the ojaivalleynews.com for what actually happened. Doornbos told the vet on the phone that he was going to kill him & then came to the office with a pipe as a weapon to make good on his threat. Since it was premeditated it’s unlikely that he is sorry…just sorry that he’s in trouble.

  15. Amber says:

    Look people, the man lost his dog that he loved and probably like his child. I can relate to that kind of love for an animal. They are your best friends. Emotions can take over your mind and body in high stressful moments. Im sure the man is sorry for what he did. He was just very upset and we are all human, correct? We all get mad say and do things we dont mean. It was a mistake and its no ones fault. It happens. This is life. Doesnt give us the right to sit here on our computers and call the man names and judge him for an outburst. Yes it wasnt right and i hope the Vet is ok but its done and now the man will have to face the consequences for what he has done. Good luck to the both of them.

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