Jayne spent career providing vet care to remote & indigenous communities
GRAND FORKS, North Dakota–– “Eric Jayne, DVM, lost his life this morning in a multi-vehicle accident near Grand Forks, North Dakota,” Humane Society of the U.S. senior state director Lisa Kauffman informed friends and colleagues at mid-day on July 2, 2021.
“The North Dakota Highway Patrol says one person has died and several others were hurt after eight vehicles were involved in a crash on Highway 2 near Grand Forks Friday morning,” Gretchen Hjelmstad of KVLY-TV in Fargo, North Dakota, had reported at 8:30 a.m.
“Sergeant Jeff Bauske says that around 7:30 a.m. they took a report of a semi driver swerving and driving on the rumble strips,” Hjelmstad continued. “Just eight minutes later, they took several emergency calls about a multi-vehicle crash.
“The crash happened in a construction zone on Highway 2, three miles west of Grand Forks,” near the Grand Forks airport, Hjelmstad added.
The eastbound truck, hauling asphalt, plowed into a line of cars that had slowed for the road work––reportedly the road work to which the asphalt was to have been delivered.
“The semi, multiple pick-up trucks, a boat, a trailer, and several other cars were seen all over the road and the nearby ditch with serious damage,” Hjelmstad said.
Two multi-car accidents had occurred at the same location the day before, the North Dakota Highway Patrol confirmed.
About an hour and forty minutes after the crash that killed Jayne, a pickup truck taking a dirt road detour around the site was hit by a train at a grade crossing, reportedly after the pickup truck driver was blinded by dust. The pickup truck driver was reportedly hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.
Sally Cooper Smith
Jayne’s companion, Sally Cooper Smith of Des Moines, Iowa, was reportedly among multiple victims of the earlier accident who were transported by ambulance to Altru Hospital in Grand Forks.
Jayne had announced on September 3, 2019 via Facebook that he and Cooper Smith, owner of a Des Moines graphic design company, were “in a relationship,” and on November 12, 2020 added that he had moved to Des Moines to be with her.
Posted Cooper Smith herself, a day after the accident, “The love of my life, Eric Jayne was taken from us. We were together, visiting our dear friend Lori Gossard, DVM in North Dakota when a semi truck hit us from behind. Eric was killed instantly.
“To say I am devastated sounds trite. I am torn apart. He was truly my love, my soulmate. We waited 43 years to be together and were planning the rest of our lives together. He gave both me and Emily,” Cooper Smith’s daughter, “the family we always dreamed of. He was a great man, an adoring husband and doting father.”
Born on September 2, 1959, in Reading, Pennsylvania, Eric Martin Jayne, 61, was the son of Carlos Jayne, Jr. and Nancy Wittman. Both parents are believed to survive Eric Martin Jayne. Both parents, before retirement, were long active in Methodist Church work.
Carlos, a minister, was a longtime lobbyist for the Iowa Conference of the Methodist Church, noted for opposing the introduction of casino gambling to Iowa and for promoting gun control in a strongly pro-gun state.
Crossed U.S. by bicycle at age 16
Eric Jayne and friend Nile Hartline, both of Des Moines, at age 16 in 1976 joined a “bike-centennial” cross-country bicycle ride from Seattle to Washington D.C. for the national Bicentennial celebration.
They left the group, however, after crossing the Rocky Mountains.
Hartline stopped when they reached Washington D.C., after six and a half weeks on the road, and went on to a long career in education and with Iowa Public Broadcasting.
Jayne rode on to Utica, New York.
Inspired by Eric Davis, DVM
Attending the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University several years later, Jayne became acquainted with Eric Davis, DVM, who worked his way through veterinary school in California as a farrier.
Davis, as a then-University of Tennessee faculty member, in 1996 founded an organization called Remote Area Medical Veterinary Services, to provide veterinary care on Native American reservations, in the low-income communities of rural eastern Tennessee, and in northern Guatemala.
This organization evolved into Rural Area Veterinary Services, with projects in 14 states and six Latin American nations, operating under the auspices of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, a division of the Humane Society of the U.S., with additional sponsorship from PetSmart Charities and the Alex & Elizabeth Lewyt Charitable Trust.
Eric and Cindy Davis meanwhile went on to found another organization, Rural Veterinary Experience, Teaching & Service, continuing similar missions.
“A guy who ‘heard a different drummer'”
“I met Eric Jayne some 20 years ago,” Eric Davis recalled in September 2009. “He was a student and I was a surgery resident, putting in long days and nights in the teaching hospital and the foal neonatal intensive care unit.
“Eric [Jayne] was always known as a guy who ‘heard a different drummer’ by most of his classmates,” Eric Davis wrote. “I suppose most thought that Eric [Jayne] was a little crazy, though he was a good student and sincere in caring for all his patients, from cats to horses.
“He was always talking about going off to Alaska after graduation, to provide veterinary care in remote communities scattered across the huge and unpopulated wilderness, where dogs remain an essential part of life and transportation in Native communities.
“Eric [Jayne] did, indeed, go directly off to Alaska and became a true ‘bush veterinarian,’ traveling to these remote communities by plane, canoe, and dog sled to care for animals who live hundreds of miles from any kind of veterinary facility. As a result, he became something of a legend in the far north.
Musher told of “crazy veterinarian”
“Along the way,” Eric Davis continued, “Eric [Jayne] hired a young musher named Julie Clements to work as an assistant and schedule his veterinary trips through the Alaskan forests, rivers, and glaciers. She ordered supplies, contacted communities, arranged transportation, and helped Dr. Jayne in his clinics.
“In the process, she truly developed a passion for veterinary medicine and decided to become a registered veterinary technician. She moved to California for training and working experience,” where she “soon became a regular volunteer anesthesia technician for our clinics in California, Washington, British Columbia, and Georgia.
“I had no idea about her connection with Eric Jayne,” Eric Davis narrated, “until one evening, after a reservation clinic day had ended, she mentioned that she had worked for this crazy veterinarian who braved snow, ice, swollen rivers, and disagreeable moose to bring veterinary care to rural Alaska. I thought this had to be Eric Jayne and sure enough, it was!
Davis and Jayne soon reconnected, after Jayne contacted the Humane Society of the U.S. state representative in Alaska, looking for help.
Anesthesia in the bush
“Although he was quite successful in the surgeries he performed on sled dogs,” Eric Davis remembered, “he wanted to improve the quality of anesthesia administered during the procedures.
“He had been using inhalant anesthesia, which is advantageous when considering patient safety, control of anesthetic depth, and ease of recovery, but most anesthesia machines are not very portable and require compressed oxygen for operation. For Dr. Jayne, these issues were further compounded by the fact that his anesthesia units had to be transported in a backpack, on a dog sled, or in a small airplane.
“As it happened, Rural Area Veterinary Services had acquired some military anesthesia machines that are exceedingly light and durable,” Eric Davis continued, “and do not need oxygen for operation. And fortunately, as a result of her experience at our reservation clinics, Julie had learned how to use these rare pieces of equipment. So we arranged for Julie to fly up to Alaska with the equipment and knowledge that Dr. Jayne needed. They went out to a very remote community on St. Lawrence island and did a large number of spays and neuters on dogs, where Julie was able to train her former mentor in the use of the field anesthesia unit.
“Over the summer, Dr. Jayne successfully performed over 300 spays and neuters, using the military field anesthesia machine.”
“Great & admired free spirit”
Testified Jayne himself at a 2017 Alaskan legislative hearing, “I provided low and no cost veterinary care throughout rural Alaska from 1999 to 2009. During that time, I performed over 35,000 spays and neuters in a total of 72 rural Alaska communities. This was done with the help of over 100 local volunteers and dozens of non-profit veterinary groups.”
Remembered 30-year Humane Society of the U.S. field representative and disaster relief coordinator Dave Pauli, of Billings, Montana, “Eric Jayne was a great and admired free spirit who helped many animals and humans in peril. I was honored to work with him at dozens of clinics and rescues in six different states, including many in Alaska and Hawaii.
“We worked clinics where they housed us in school libraries, front porches, and once offered us the drunk tank jail cells in an Alaskan village. We declined. We worked on both domestic and wildlife projects, tribal and community clinics.
“Part Grizzly Adams & part Doctor Dolittle”
“We once floated the Yukon River in a boat and vaccinated and spayed hundreds of dogs along the way. He was part Grizzly Adams and part Doctor Dolittle, always a friend to animals.
“I am in denial,” Pauli said, “that I will not see him at next year’s Humane Society of the U.S. Expo, or trap feral dogs and cats to keep animals on his surgery table for 12 hours straight.”
Added Pauli, to ANIMALS 24-7, “Eric was one of my favorite field partners. His can-do but still laid back demeanor made everyone on the team energized. I worked at least a dozen of clinics or rescues with just him and me boating or driving to places where people did not have options to get veterinary care.
“Whatever you think is right”
“When they asked what they owed him for his services he would say ‘whatever you think is right,’ and he often took payment in smoked fish or other homemade food items.
“When I took my family up for a road trip tour of Alaska 15 years ago,” Pauli added, “Eric had arranged a horse riding adventure and a sled dog exposure event. In both cases, while my family was riding the horses or learning about sled dogs, Eric was in their house or garage, spaying or vaccinating all the animals as barter payment for the events.
“When Eric called me to help on a project, like a huge hoarder case in Fairbanks, I would get excited,” Pauli said, “because I knew he would deliver what he promised and the event would be an adventure. I also was solo with Eric for a series of one-day clinics on St. Lawrence Island in the communities of Gambell and Savoonga, where they had not had any veterinary visits for a decade. We treated almost every dog, cat, bird, rodent and many livestock on the island.”
70 miles from the nearest paved road
Arriving in Alaska on October 1, 1999, Jayne built a log house at Chandalar Lake, near the Brooks Range in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 70 miles from the nearest paved road, about 120 miles straight north from Fairbanks.
Jayne’s practice, called Sovereign Nations Veterinary, a name he later used in Iowa and elsewhere, was registered in Coldfoot, the last truck stop north of Fairbanks before Deadhorse, 240 miles farther north.
Jayne “also served during that time as adjunct professor for the University of Alaska veterinary science program, where he developed a learning pathway for Alaska native students to enter the veterinary medical field,” recalled Animal Balance founder Emma Clifford.
Jayne enjoyed the rugged life of the Far North, including participating in the 2002 and 2005 Yukon River Quest kayak races, paddling 444 miles from Whitehorse to Dawson City.
By mid-2005, though, Jayne was embroiled in a series of conflicts with the Alaska Office of the State Veterinarian and members of the Alaska Veterinary Medical Association that would eventually bring his departure.
Wrote Alaska state veterinarian Robert Gerlach on December 10, 2005, after rumors flew that Jayne had been suspended from practice, “I am supportive of Dr Jayne’s work in the bush communities. I realize that he provides veterinary care and educational instruction to many communities that otherwise would have no veterinary support. I have not stopped or restricted Dr. Jayne from practicing veterinary medicine or providing service to any communities.
“The issue of concern,” Gerlach said, “involves a particular product, an experimental vaccine that Dr Jayne has developed and is using to treat clostridia diarrhea in dogs. The state permits the use of experimental products if there is some evidence of benefit for the animals, but requires evidence that the product is both safe and effective. According to the permit that was issued in accordance with USDA regulations, the experimental vaccine was to be used in seven kennels chosen by Dr. Jayne.
“I restricted the use of the product to these kennels until Dr. Jayne could provide some data to illustrate that the product was effective to control the disease and didn’t harm the dogs. Once I receive data that shows the vaccine worked and no abnormal or adverse effects were documented, I can approve the use of the vaccine in other kennels,” Gerlach explained, where “it may be another management tool that mushers and kennel owners can use to control a common disease condition.”
Abruptly left Alaska
A year later, in August 2006, Jayne conflicted with Fairbanks North Star Borough, after the borough government and Alaska State Troopers impounded about two dozen animals from Loving Companions Animal Rescue, founded by Donna Buck-Davis, a sponsor of some of Jayne’s spay/neuter missions.
Anchorage Daily News reported Debra McKinney on February 26, 2009 lamented that “Galena hasn’t had a spay and neuter clinic since the last time itinerant vet Eric Jayne came to town two years ago. The Bush Vet, as Jayne is widely known, is a spay/neuter crusader who will ‘fix’ dogs on people’s kitchen tables if that’s all he has to work with — and for cheap. Often for free.”
On October 1, 2009, however, ten years to the day after arriving in Alaska, Jayne abruptly left.
Conflict in Delta Junction
“Friends said they haven’t heard from him and they don’t know if he’s coming back,” wrote Amanda Bohman of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on December 14, 2009.
“An online state database shows Jayne’s license is in good standing,” Bohman said, “ but Clinton Crusberg, a veterinarian in Delta Junction, complained to the veterinary board following a clinic Jayne held in Delta Junction.
Objected Crusberg, “He was doing surgeries in fire halls and community centers and stuff like that. It’s just not really up to snuff. It’s just poor practice, really.”
Crusberg (1957-2021) spent six years in Alaska with the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps and then ran his own practice in Delta Junction for 28 years, including a stint as head veterinarian for the annual Yukon Quest sled dog race.
Jayne surrendered his license to practice in Alaska on January 8, 2010.
Returned to Alaska as musher
Reported Bohman, “Jayne told the Alaska veterinary board, in a handwritten letter using capital letters, to leave him alone.”
But Jayne returned to Alaska just six weeks later.
“Jayne left the state late last year with an intention of making a living in his former career, carpentry and house-building, in the state of Iowa,” reported KTNA, the National Public Radio affiliate in Talkeetna, Alaska, “but has changed directions, and has taken over the climber supply-hauling business, hauling climber supplies by dog team up Denali’s north slopes on the Muldrow Glacier, from Jeff Yanuchi of Healy, providing a service to climbers who either head up Denali via the northern routes or those that traverse the mountain and want supplies cached on the north side of the glacier.”
Wrote Jayne himself, in a widely distributed open letter, “What happened to me can be best described by this: Imagine driving down the highway. Suddenly a state trooper comes up behind you and pulls you over. You roll the window down and the officer shouts out that you were speeding and he is going to take your license from you––right then and there. You say, ‘Shouldn’t I just get a ticket?’
“The officer replies, ‘I see you have an unauthorized dog in the truck with you so now I am taking your license and your truck. You reply, ‘I didn’t know that dogs needed to be authorized and I didn’t see the speed limit posted. What is it?’
“The cop replies, ‘I can’t tell you. That’s confidential information.’
“You say, ‘I don’t think I was speeding , I am a careful driver.” You are then dragged from your car, beaten up, your dog is shot, you get a kick in the backside, and are told to get out of there and never come back. As you walk down the road you look back and a smiling cop is driving off in your truck, flipping his middle finger up at you.
“State of veterinary failure”
“This is exactly what happened to me. Not only was the largest veterinary clinic [in Alaska, in both number of clients and area served] stolen from me, the state’s single biggest non-profit benefactor was booted in the backside as well.
“There are no rules to keep the Alaskan Veterinary Board from doing this,” Jayne alleged.
“The rules should prohibit board members from participating in cases against competitors. There should be a clear and legal process for complaint cases to be heard, and complaints should only be allowed from clients, not competitor vets. All statements should be made under oath. The rules should state clear standards for clinics as well. If they want stainless steel surgery tables at every vet clinic, say it. If they want an x-ray machine, say that as well. Spell it out.
“These rules also need to ensure that rural Alaska is included on the board,” Jayne added. “Further, all meetings should be done transparently and with public input. Until that happens Alaska will continue to suffer in the state of veterinary failure that now exists.”
“Dogs being shot”
Jayne, along with his mushing business, had already begun veterinary practices in Arkansas and Hawaii.
But Jayne returned to Alaska several times to seek reform of the Alaskan Board of Veterinary Examiners. Jayne hoped to ensure, he told Diana Haecke of the Nome Nugget in July 2016, that the “Veterinary needs of Alaskans are met thoroughly, competently and fairly.”
“It boils down to two things,” Jayne said. “Number one, dogs being shot, and number two, the traumatic effect that has on people and especially children. This is traumatic for kids and there is a direct correlation to domestic violence, substance abuse, and even suicides,” Jayne charged.
Jayne estimated that approximately 10,000 spay/neuter procedures would have to be done in Alaska to end shooting dogs to control the population.
“Care must be available year-round”
Jayne recommended that tribal health organizations, village or tribal organizations, and/or city governments should be allowed “to authorize a specific person,” such as a trained veterinary technician, “to provide veterinary care when an Alaskan licensed veterinarian is not present.”
Explained Jayne, “Emergency care, vaccinations, deworming, and treatment of ill or injured animals must be available on year-round basis.”
Added Haecke, “Jayne also suggested solutions that include telemedicine and a veterinary assistant program modeled on the health aide and dental health aide programs that exist for human medicine in bush Alaska.”
Jayne took on the Yukon Quest
Jayne riled the Alaska veterinary establishment again in 2018 when he sided with former Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race champion Hugh Neff, against University of Alaska Fairbanks veterinarian Nina Hansen, who was then the Yukon Quest head veterinarian.
Summarized veteran Alaska journalist Craig Medred, “In a move unprecedented in Alaska sled-dog racing, Neff was in late April suspended for two years from the 1,000-mile race from Fairbanks to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada.
“At the time, the Quest issued a press release suggesting it was taking the action because Neff continued along the trail from the Eagle, Alaska, checkpoint to Dawson Creek, Yukon Territory, with a dog in his team who was unfit to travel.
“The dog – Boppy – died in a cabin at Clinton Creek, an old mining community about 50 miles from Dawson, as Neff and others tried to save his life.”
Alleged multiple omissions from necropsy
Jayne alleged multiple omissions from the necropsy report.
Continued Medred, “Jayne is suspicious Boppy’s death might be linked to a ‘clostridium perfringens type A alpha toxin,’ produced by the clostridium bacteria.”
This is the disease for which Jayne had tried to develop a vaccine a dozen years before.
“Jayne and the sled-dog-race vets have a long, interesting and complicated history,” Medred noted. “Alaska veterinarians once tried to get Jayne’s Alaska veterinary license taken away because he was doing cheap and sometimes free work for villagers. And they really didn’t like him expressing the opinion that the Iditarod annually spreads canine diseases from Willow north to Nome, to the detriment of village dogs.
“The fight got so acrimonious that Jayne finally just gave up his Alaska license and told the state licensing board to just leave him alone.
“Not opposed to working sled dogs”
“And in one foray out of Alaska, Jayne took a job working for humane organizations in Hawaii – the kind of organizations that often criticize the Iditarod and Yukon Quest.
“But Jayne is not opposed to working sled dogs,” Medred emphasized. “Just the opposite. He is a musher himself and for years held the concession permit to haul supplies around Denali National Park & Preserve by dog sled in winter. Not to mention that his son is a veteran of the Iditarod.
“On top of that,” Medred said, “Jayne’s observation as to a veterinary screw up isn’t out of line with the view expressed by Hansen. She said the vet in Eagle [who did the necropsy] screwed up. Hansen then added that though she wasn’t there, she would take the blame as the person in charge.”
“We’re here helping the other vets”
Jayne arrived in Arkansas in November 2007, as “the veterinarian at the Humane Veterinary Services Spay & Neuter Clinic on U.S. 65 in Springhill, between Conway and Greenbrier,” recounted Paxton Media Group reporter Sara Greene.
“I know a lot of local veterinarians are nervous because it’s another clinic,” Jayne acknowledged to Greene, “but for an everyday veterinarian, spays and neutering aren’t big moneymakers. We’re here helping the other veterinarians, and we appreciate them and their role in the community,” Jayne said.
Mentioned Greene, “Before arriving in Arkansas, Jayne flew to Seattle to start a six-month mountain bike trek down the west coast and across into Latin America, ending in Panama.
“I really enjoyed the trip and appreciate the Hispanic culture. Everyone I met was welcoming and friendly,” Jayne told Greene.
Arkansas & Hawaii
Jayne continued to practice in Arkansas, between stints elsewhere and doing other things, for the rest of his life.
On March 21, 2017, Jayne posted to Facebook that he had become medical director for Spay Arkansas. On August 27, 2020, Spay Arkansas posted that, “It took our team captain Dr Eric Jayne six hours and 35 minutes to alter 124 cats today, a new one-day, in-house record for our organization. That’s 19 an hour for our math buffs. Dr Jayne always says it’s all about the math and it’s true.”
Jayne also continued to practice in Hawaii.
Recalled Molokai Humane Society vet tech/receptionist Mahea Luafalemana, “Dr. Eric was our vet here on Molokai for a short period of time but in that short time he had done so much for our little island. He helped to build our clinic to what it is today.”
KAT Charities, of Pearl City, Hawaii, “worked closely with him and he was scheduled to be in Hawaii next month. We had multiple clinics and events planned with him,” KAT Charities posted to Facebook.
Puerto Rico & Oklahoma
Mentioned the Maddie’s Fund Shelter Medicine Program at Cornell University in New York state, Jayne “was a Cornell team member on multiple rounds of Spayathon for Puerto Rico.”
Remembered Lisa Kauffman, “I met him at the HSUS-sponsored Spayathon Puerto Rico. We bonded over our passion to work on Native American reservations and fix every dog and cat we could. We had been emailing the last few weeks about planning an s/n event at the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming in October.
The Humane Society of Tulsa posted that, “Dr. Jayne was an integral part of the HST family.”
But SpayFirst! of Oklahoma had a disappointing experience.
Founder Ruth Steinberger recruited Jayne in August 2016, after participating in a four-and-a-half-day clinic at the Rosebud reservation in South Dakota, during which Jayne sterilized 259 animals, performed three eye surgeries, and removed two fishhooks from a cat’s leg.
Jayne helped Steinberger in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to perfect the use of calcium chloride as a chemosterilant for male dogs and cats.
“The qualities of calcium chloride as a safer chemical sterilant have been known since 1977 and 1978 publications by L.M. Koger and his team at Washington State University, Pullman,” explained the Parsemus Foundation, which funded some of the SpayFirst! research.
Later studies done in India, Nepal, and elsewhere were promising, but none of the researchers were able to avoid the same sort of severe, painful scrotal swelling that have also plagued the use of many other injectable chemosterilants for male animals, including the zinc-based product Talsur, introduced in India in 1990, and a similar zinc-based product variously marketed as Neutersol, Esterilsol, and Zeuterin.
Changed formula but not the outcome
Earlier experiments with calcium chloride used alcohol as a carrier solution. Jayne switched to using propylene glycol, and apparently had some success with that approach, but Steinberger told ANIMALS 24-7 that using it was so technique-dependent that veterinarians without Jayne’s level of skill and experience probably could not learn to do it safely and consistently.
Jayne soon afterward abruptly left SpayFirst!, much as he had left Alaska in 2009, without notice and without explanation.
While testimonials to Jayne’s work were many, even before the July 2, 2021 accident that killed him, his personal life included several failed relationships, and he rarely managed to work with anyone else for more than a few months at a stretch.
Jayne did, however, manage to sustain many professional relationships which did not require working side-by-side on a long-term basis.
Indigenous Peoples Law
Animal Balance founder Emma Clifford on November 13, 2020 introduced Jayne as “our Indigenous Programs Medical Director!” in addition to his capacities as “the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association state representative for both Iowa and Hawaii.”
After Jayne’s death, Clifford posted to Facebook, “Eric and I had a drink together at the airport a few days ago. We had just finished a campaign serving the Ramah community,” a 500-year-old Navajo settlement in New Mexico named after a nearby Mormon settlement. The Mormon name, taken from the Biblical Book of Joshua, is unintentionally shared with the Camp Ramah movement within Conservative Judaism.
“We had made plans to overturn and stamp out racism through kindness and hard work, and promoting self-determination for tribes,” Clifford said. “He was teaching us all to be kinder, to understand history and understand how we can change it through our work with the animals.”
In connection with that ambition, Jayne had in 2019 earned a Master of Legal Studies degree in Indigenous Peoples Law from the University of Oklahoma.
Freddy Jordan Veterinary Scholarship Fund
Jayne had also “launched the Freddy Jordan Veterinary Scholarship Fund,” Clifford mentioned, “a program supporting indigenous students who want to pursue a veterinary medical education.”
According to the Freddy Jordan Scholarship Fund web page, “The fund is named for Freddy Jordan, an Alaska native from Tanana who died tragically in 2002. He is remembered as a musher who was dedicated to the health and care of his dogs. During his attempts to run the Yukon Quest, Freddy was unfortunately forced to withdraw when his dogs picked up one of the many viruses that go through the races. Rather than run sick dogs, he looked out for the health of his dogs first.”
Sensitive toward racism in any form, Jayne on June 5, 2020 posted, “For those people who think that racism by the police against black people does not exist, I have to add my testimony that it very much does exist. I have experienced it first hand with my son Daniel, who is black.
“Rode 120 miles straight through”
“While on a bicycle trip with Daniel when he was 15,” Jayne recounted, “we were stopped by a white policeman and told we could not ride our bicycles on the road. The cop did not focus on me; he focused on Daniel, who stood there looking at me, scared, confused, and very passive.
“The cop unholstered his gun, got out his baton and put pepper spray aimed right at Daniel’s face. I started yelling for help to passers-by. A second white cop stopped and helped the first. They handcuffed Daniel and threw me down to the ground, smashing my face into the gravel and suffocating me while they twisted my arms behind my back and handcuffed me as well.
“Thank goodness a third policeman stopped––an Hispanic cop. He talked to the other two policemen, and while they were doing this, they stuck us in the police car. After about 20 minutes they took us out and let us go. We quickly rode off. About a half an hour later up the road we passed the first two cops who were standing on a hill overlooking us. They had their arms crossed and were staring at us intently, with malice. We slept that night hidden in some bushes, and the next day rode 120 miles straight through.”
Jayne and Sally Cooper Smith had for some time been helping Rosebud Reservation community organizer Kathleen WoodenKnife and Sovereign Nations Veterinary partner Lori Gossard to establish a tribal animal clinic.
“He believed in and was so excited to bring this clinic to our reservation,” WoodenKnife posted. “We continued to have clinics while renovating the building. He brought many fellow veterinarians and groups to our homeland to help build this clinic. We were in the process of finishing the remodeling and getting ready to open our clinic in September.
“Please say a prayer for his journey and his partner Sally,” WoodenKnife asked.
Added WoodenKnife several hours later, “Dr. Jayne had planned to have a wellness/vaccination clinic, along with doing a minimal amount of spay/neuters on July 7, 2021. Dr. Lori will fulfill that commitment.
“Dr. Lori is Dr. Jayne’s partner with Sovereign Nations Veterinary and will continue to be a part of Wamakanskan Wawokiye Oti,” the clinic name in the Sioux language.
Confirmed Sally Cooper Smith, “I am motivated to keep our non-profit, Sovereign Nations Veterinary, fully running and contributing back to the indigenous communities we serve.”
Sad event. Was the driver of the vehicle drunk?
Su Libby says
Excellent Bio on this colorful and passionate Veterinarian. Wish there were more like him.
Although he may have run afoul of the Alaska State Vet Association, It is a fact that State Vet Associations are extremely conservative and even reactionary.
As a wildlife activist in WISCONSIN for 22 years, I was often invited to our State Veterinary trainings and events. Our groups fought for years to get a simple law passed that would REQUIRE WI Vets to report animal abuse to the State.
That law would have given cover to all the Veterinarians, especially in rural areas, where their lives, reputations and livelihoods might have been at risk had they reported certain individuals as abusers.
The WISCONSIN State Veterinary Association has been lobbying successfully against passage of any such law.
May I ask: Why would the Wisconsin State Veterinary Association actively lobby against such a law?
Jamaka Petzak says
RIP and may he inspire many to follow in his footsteps. We so desperately need more like him. Sharing to socials with gratitude and sorrow.
Cathy Goeggel says
Mahalo for your very informative article on Dr. Eric. During the years I volunteered with Hawai’i Cat Friends, I had the chance to get to know him a bit (he neutered several of my colony cats) I shared necropsy reports of dead Hawaiian Monk Seals with him. I acquired them under FOIA from NOAA. They claimed that cat feces were the cause of many seal deaths, although the data did not concur.(Most were decomposed too much to ID the COD.)
Animal Rights Hawai’i
Hugh Neff says
Thanks for the beautiful article about an amazing man. He deserves to be recognized and honored for all he has done for so many folks. Eric was a saint to so many animals. Often for free, he just lived to help others.
Mary King says
This hurts my heart so bad. Eric and I became friends many yrs ago when we lived in Ak. He was our vet for the mules and my dogs. He had told me a month ago that he was gonna stop in to see my husband and I ( we live in Ks now) probably on his way bk from S Dakota. We were so excited that he was gonna stop and I was gonna make his favorite pie. It is so hard to swallow that he is gone. We loved him as long as many many ppl did. He will truly be missed. God Bless his family!
We knew Eric years ago in Ruby AK. He neutered/spayed our dog team in one afternoon- as professional, kind and caring as one would want or expect. He was a true savior to animals and villagers all along the Yukon River. A great soul and great veterinarian who will be missed. Our condolences to his loved ones. RIP Bush Vet.
I commend you on one of the most comprehensive articles on dr jayne since his death. I met him at one of the puerto rico spayathons, an intense, stressful 6-day spayathon involving thousands of people, cats, & dogs. Dr eric was unfailingly kind, gentle, professional, & productive during the entire event–working with diverse people serving in every capacity.
It seems totally unfair for you to write that he couldn’t get along w someone over a longer period like several months. if ever someone would show his true colors, it would be during excessively busy, stressful, & lengthy events (12+-hr days) such as these, & he did MANY.
Bless Dr. Jayne & his loved ones, & all the people & animals he helped. If we had more Dr. Jaynes, this world would be such a glorious place.
Merritt Clifton says
Psychological literature includes many volumes of case studies of individuals who performed extremely well in short-term high-stress situations, for example legions of star athletes, war heroes, and quite a few other surgeons, who have nonetheless had difficulty successfully sustaining both personal and professional relationships over many months or years.
Terry Ellwood says
I knew Eric during his Alaskan days and worked for him for a short time taking orders and mailing supplies to mushers in exchange for vet care for my family’s sled dog kennel. He was a kind, gentle, generous, talented and highly intelligent man. My family and I had the utmost respect and admiration for him and his cause. We are deeply saddened by his passing and wish to express our sincere sympathy to all who knew and loved him. May he rest in peace in the loving arms of our Lord and Savior.
Truly heartbreaking. This man had so much passion as a DVM. A true loss to the rescue world. Very large shoes for those to come to try to fill. Godspeed for healing hands to his family. Truly truly heartbreaking.