By Katy Savage
CASTLETON—Janet Carini is the go-to veterinarian for investigations into animal cruelty cases.
The vet with 30 years of experience knows just what to look for.
In 2011, Carini provided documents and performed medical exams on 54 Labrador retrievers seized from a puppy mill in Bakersfield in 2011, which helped the State’s Attorney build a case to have the dogs removed.
Carini, who owns the the Rutland Veterinary Clinic at Castleton Corners, was presented the 2018 Dave Walker Award from the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association in Burlington June 22.
The award is named after Dr. David Walker, a Vermont veterinarian, who was a strong advocate for animal health, agriculture and the well-being of veterinarians.
The award is given whenever a veterinarian goes “above and beyond the call of duty,” the association said.
Carini was presented the award at the VVMA summer meeting.
“I was stunned and surprised,” she said.
Carini’s love of animals began when she was 10. She was inspired by a woman veterinarian whom she watched during avet call at her step-father’s farm in Ira. She began working at the Rutland Veterinary Clinic when she was 15.
She graduated from Michigan State University in 1985 and shortly after opened her own practice in Castleton. She became involved in VVMA in 1987.
“This year it’s been clear to us how much Janet has contributed to the animal welfare issue,” said VVMA Executive Director Kathy Finnie. “She’s seen a lot.”
Carini has been a volunteer for the Rutland County Humane Society for 30 years, serving as a board members for 16 years—she has been secretary, vice president and president of the board. She’s also been the veterinarian of record for the area for 20 years, spaying and neutering feral cats in Rutland County.
She sometimes volunteers up to 60 hours a week in addition to running her practice.
“I’m famous for giving up my holidays,” she said.
Early in her career, Carini helped found the State of Vermont Euthanasia Board for Animals, which established protocols to ensure that animals are euthanized humanely, by properly-trained, certified technicians.
“Janet has been a real leader in working with humane societies and veterinary control officers and police officers in trying to have the things that need to be documents to prove in court animal cruelty cases,” said Finnie.
In 1998, following a severe ice storm, Carini was instrumental in forming RADART, the Rutland Area Disaster Animal Response Team, which established evacuation plans for both humans and animals.
“She’s always willing to go the extra mile, drive the extra mile. She’s amazing,” said Joanne Bourbeau, New England regional director for the Humane Society of the United States. “I can’t say enough about her.”
Every year Carini leads a two-day training to teach Vermont state police what to look for in animal investigations. She takes police to a farm called Forget Me Not in Middletown Springs to introduce them to horses and Shelburne Farms to introduce them to a wide variety of animals.
Despite her experience Carini is humble and quiet in her leadership in the veterinary practice. It’s all about the animals for her.
“I love animals and I love trying to make them better and help them,” she said.
Veterinarian Janet Carini checks up on a horse.