Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

SENSELESS VANDALISM – The side mirror of the truck parked outside the Copper Road Veterinary Clinic was broken and its windows damaged as attempts were made to smash them. The building’s window on the far left was broken, and a large rock was left on the sill of another window.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

HARASSMENT CONTINUES – Dr. Marina Alpeza and her colleague, Dr. Greg Pottie, are seen Tuesday in front of the business.

‘This needs to stop’: vet

Dr. Marina Alpeza of the Copper Road Veterinary Clinic is fed up with what she is describing as intimidation and harassment.

By Chuck Tobin on October 14, 2020

Dr. Marina Alpeza of the Copper Road Veterinary Clinic is fed up with what she is describing as intimidation and harassment.

The clinic was vandalized sometime after 8 p.m. Monday, she told the Star Tuesday.

Alperza said a front window on the business was smashed with a rock, and the rock was left on the window sill.

Her truck parked outside had the door mirror on the driver’s side damaged and windows on the truck were scarred by strikes from rocks, she said.

“We have been harassed for years, and it’s one of the reasons we are moving,” Alpeza said in an interview Tuesday. “This needs to stop, and the public needs to know about it.”

She said for the first 15 years after opening the clinic in 1994, it was good.

But in the last 10 years, there has been an increase in harassment directed at her staff and herself.

Alpeza said she and her colleague will continue to offer consultation and prescription refills through the winter by phone and online, but she’s closing the clinic and intends to open again at another location after the winter.

The veteran vet of 37 years believes the growing level of harassment is aimed particularly at women who operate their own businesses, and she knows female vets in other jurisdictions are experiencing the same sort of thing.

The clinic had already made the decision to close down the current location before Monday’s vandalism, but the incident is a reflection of what they’ve been putting up with, Alpeza explained.

The vet said the same truck was vandalized a couple of years ago when she was living in Copper Ridge.

The vandals had gained entry into her locked vehicle, took everything inside and threw it all over the place, but didn’t take any of the money that was inside.

The same thing happened to the wife of her fellow veterinarian, who was running her own business at the time and was living just down the street.

They didn’t take anything from her vehicle but they did throw her business cards all over the front lawn, she said.

Alpeza said the last four or five receptionists have been brought to tears by dealing with unruly telephone calls with people who just keep complaining about one thing or another.

She mentioned one woman who had spent a total of $89 at the clinic, but had made 37 phone calls to the business.

It wasn’t about the damage Monday night but the harassment she is concerned about, Alpeza said.

Her fellow veterinarian at the clinic, Dr. Greg Pottie, noted how the rock presumably used to scar up the truck windows was left perched on the door handle.

“It was as if to say, ‘look at this, what we did to your car,’” he said.

The RCMP investigated the vandalism Monday night and indicated by email this morning the investigation is continuing.

Comments (17)

Up 24 Down 0

My Opinion on Oct 18, 2020 at 1:45 pm

Cameras only work if they lead to an arrest and a charge with meaningful consequences.

The latest Honda 4 robberies were all caught on camera. After the first one the cops caught him. He got away and reoffended. Then he did it again, went to court and was let go with a curfew, broke curfew and did it again, went to court and got two days for breaking curfew. Guess what? He did it yet again, all in a couple of weeks. Windows and ROCKS every time. Has nothing to do with the Sex of the owner.

Yep, right in front of Cameras. The cops are trying, but our catch and release system has to change.

Up 4 Down 5

Unfeckingbelievable! on Oct 17, 2020 at 9:43 pm

@ Shetland - Is that why they call them “stoners”? They get high and throw rocks?

Up 14 Down 2

DA on Oct 16, 2020 at 10:03 am

Security cameras may be part of the solution.

Up 28 Down 3

Groucho d'North on Oct 15, 2020 at 9:11 pm

I lay blame on the Young Offenders Act and numerous other progressive policies designed to get these poor babies back on the straight and narrow. Like that will ever happen.
Further, we don't have a Justice System, that's a ruse - we have a Legal Industry where the players depend on a regular crop of law breakers to keep their machine running. Cha-Ching!

Up 44 Down 5

Shetland on Oct 15, 2020 at 3:34 pm

Alpeza is deluded if she thinks vandals are organizing against women business owners, it's almost laughable to envision how this would have all been planned out. I guarantee if you did the math, male business owners are seeing more vandalism/theft simply because more men own businesses than women.

Vandalism and theft is rampant in this town and don't expect it to get any better. RCMP have more than enough on their hands with more serious stuff which kinda points to the need of a second level of policing required in the Yukon or at least Whitehorse to deal with the more minor stuff like this.
Vandalism is most often a target of opportunity:

I'm drunk/high/bored
I see a rock.
I see a window.
I'll throw that rock through that window.

A more likely scenario is a disgruntled employee, customer or acquaintance of the business owners/staff. In their mind they've been wronged and are seeking payback. I don't see how leveling accusations, closing the business then reopening it will make anything change.

A couple cameras and floodlight would make a huge difference.
I don't think we are getting the whole story here.

Up 36 Down 2

xyz on Oct 15, 2020 at 2:31 pm

I would love to know who this skanky loser is that hides and throws rocks. Would be nice to publish their name and address all over the place.

Up 17 Down 10

Politico on Oct 15, 2020 at 2:09 pm

@Groucho d'North @ Why bother - People keep electing the same old tired politicians and wonder why things don't change. The Conservatives and YP were in power for years, did anything in our justice system change?

Up 23 Down 7

Vlad on Oct 15, 2020 at 10:37 am

And this goes on for some ten years and not just to this clinic? What is the police for? Security cameras do wonders and any vet's clinic should be able to afford them

Up 49 Down 0

Groucho d'North on Oct 15, 2020 at 10:26 am

What needs to stop is the revolving door in the legal system. Much time and investment go into protecting commercial buildings with alarm systems and now more cameras, and the RCMP spend large amounts of time working to ID and then capture these miscreants, only for the courts to slap their iniquitous little wrists and send them back out to do it again. Step one is admitting what the problem really is.

Up 45 Down 2

Why bother? on Oct 15, 2020 at 8:49 am

Would security cameras and catching the people even matter with our justice system? it's still the business that will suffer.
Why are we always so quick to blame the victims of crime?

Up 41 Down 1

Dave on Oct 15, 2020 at 3:40 am

‘She believes the growing level of harassment is aimed at women who operate their own business’. ‘One woman who spent $89 at the clinic but made 37 phone calls.’ So is it women harassing women or is she just using her gender as a crutch to try and explain away something that’s probably based on something else?
As a former customer of Copper road veterinary clinic I stopped using their services years ago due to having the choice of other vet clinics which by the way are mostly female owned and staffed but who in my opinion offer better service. However having said that, there’s no excuse for vandalizing or harassing this business or any other. If you don’t like their service just go somewhere else, don’t stoop to breaking windows and vandalizing vehicles.
I have been privy to instances of rocks thrown through the windows of male owned Whitehorse businesses as well where the perps were caught on security cameras, however they are smart enough to wear hoodies and make themselves unrecognizable.

Up 23 Down 10

I call BS on Oct 14, 2020 at 9:06 pm

I find it funny they don't know who did it. There are cameras all over the place, inside and out. Why not just tell your clients that you are closing? If they do reopen I hope they invest in the business, upgrade some equipment and education.

Up 14 Down 39

Edie rue on Oct 14, 2020 at 8:14 pm

I’m not buying it. There’s something hidden in this, and under the guise of harassment and damage. Every person in this town with a car has experienced people welcoming themselves to items in the car. And throwing rocks at the building, or ticked off customers, that’s the result of poor customer service combined with the perception of being ripped off. I know my trips to the vet always felt pretty greasy, wishing I had lubed up before walking through the door.

Up 42 Down 41

Rusty on Oct 14, 2020 at 4:58 pm

I'd guess the vast majority of the people harassing the vet or vandalizing their property are disgruntled customers who aren't happy with the high rates they charge. if you can't afford the vet, don't get a dog. Plain and simple.

Up 60 Down 4

Nathan Living on Oct 14, 2020 at 4:54 pm

Sorry to hear this. A few trail cameras could expose the sicko and stop the vandalism.
Should be no reason to have to move.

Up 61 Down 13

JC on Oct 14, 2020 at 3:54 pm

Ever hear of security cameras? Even I have one. Insurance goes down and the perps get caught. No rocket science to this.

Up 81 Down 8

Al on Oct 14, 2020 at 3:25 pm

I am sorry to hear this happening. This is what our once a great little town has turned into. Thuggery...
All of us who cares about our town would appreciate anyone that knows anything about this type of behaviour to speak up and let the RCMP know. Jail isn't good enough for people like this.

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