WILLIAMSTON, Mich. (WLNS) – A Williamston vet center has sent out cease and desist letters to a pet owner in Owosso and the administrator of a Facebook page where the review was shared. The legal battle caught them by surprise.
We’ve all seen online reviews left for many businesses with the occasional reply from staff, but after Kimberly McIntosh wrote a negative review about the Greater Lansing Veterinary Center, she got a letter from that vet clinic asking her not to return.
She also received a cease and desist notice in the mail.
Kimberly McIntosh said she had a bad experience at the Greater Lansing Veterinary Center in Williamston back in March after taking her dog, Roxanne, in for an appointment.
She said she understands the pressures of a vet office and took time to think before taking to Facebook to share a negative review.
When she checked her mailbox days later, she saw a notice telling her she will need to “seek emergency treatment elsewhere” because of her post.
McIntosh said the letter was then followed up by a cease and desist notice from attorneys representing the center.
“I haven’t continued with anything. I simply stated my experience there,” she said.
The five-page long notice demanded that any “improper posts” be deleted and that a written apology is sent.
But McIntosh is not backing down.
“It’s my, you know, freedom of speech,” said McIntosh.
The notice said the center understands and respects free speech, but called the post and several comments from other Facebook users false. They also said it could be considered “cyberbullying,” and “false light invasion of privacy.”
Emily Thomas helps run the Perry Facebook group where the negative review was shared and also got the same notice. She said the post was flagged multiple times with claims of cyberbullying.
“I’m just honestly shocked it got this far,” said Thomas.
Attorney Mike Nichols is not involved in this case but has been in court against the vet center for a January 2021 case.
He said it can be challenging to prove intentional damages in a cease and desist case.
“Was there actual malice? Was it incorrect? Those are the biggest hurdles in our justice system,” said Nichols.
Both McIntosh and Thomas said they do not plan to delete the post. 6 News reached out to both the attorney representing the Greater Lansing veterinary center and its office manager for a comment.
The manager declined to comment and the attorney said they were not prepared to provide a comment at that time.