Society

Cat Lawsuit Drives Vet Clinic Owner Shirley Koshi To Suicide

| by Jonathan Wolfe

Distraught New York veterinarian Dr. Shirley Koshi took her life on Feb. 16, following a lengthy civil lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed by self-deemed cat rescuer Gwen Jurmark, was over a cat Koshi rescued in Wallenberg Park in August 2013.

While walking through Wallenberg Park, two women saw Karl, a sickly black and white cat. The women took the cat into Koshi's clinic. Karl had a urinary tract infection and was given a 10-day course of antibiotics.

Weeks after Karl was rescued, Jurmark came forward and claimed the cat was hers.

“Ms. Gwen Jurmark appeared on the scene weeks after the cat improved saying this was her cat that she ‘keeps’ along with many others at Wallenberg Park,” Koshi said in court papers. “Gwen Jurmark rescues cats … then drops them off in parks instead of finding homes for them.”

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Koshi did not want to relinquish control of Karl only to see him back in the park. But as the lawsuit proceeded, Jurmark went public with her side of the story. Jurmark's supporters posted negative things online about Koshi and her Gentle Hands Clinic. Jurmark reportedly staged an event outside of the clinic in which dozens of protestors joined her in protesting outside of Gentle Hands.

The negative publicity Koshi and Gentle Hands received from the case drove her business into the ground. The clinic's income plummeted. Koshi was forced to use her own income to keep the business afloat. Then, a flood last month ruined much of the clinic. It all proved too much for Koshi to handle. She took her life last week.

“She was being harassed and vilified by various individuals, including the person who filed the complaint,” Koshi’s lawyer, John Sarcone, said.

“Besides financial problems, the lawsuit drove her over the edge,” former Gentle Hands employee Will Page added.

Police ruled her death a suicide by apparent overdose.

After Koshi’s death, Jurmark reclaimed custody of Karl.

Sources: NY Daily News, Riverdale Press