Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
A Southern California veterinary hospital owner died in a small-plane crash Dec. 9 in San Diego along with the husband of another veterinarian.
The victims were identified as 46-year-old Michael Zareski, DVM, the founder and clinical director at Western Veterinary Group in Torrance, California, and Robert Stelling Jr., 50. Stelling’s wife, Dawn Stelling, DVM, survived the crash landing, which occurred shortly after the single-engine Beech B36 Bonanza departed Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport in San Diego.
Dr. Stelling, who practices at Old Towne Animal Hospital in Southampton, New York, and the pilot suffered undisclosed injuries.
DVM360 reported that Dr. Zareski and Stelling had attended the Fetch veterinary conference in San Diego.
Dr. Zareski’s wife, Shanna, posted a notice on the Western Veterinary Group website.
“I am so terribly saddened to share with you that my husband, Dr. Mike Zareski, was involved in an accident and did not survive,” she wrote. “Our WVG staff and families know that Mike touched a tremendous number of people with his overwhelming compassion, generosity and kindness. His legacy will live on in our four beautiful children and in Western Veterinary Group.
“I intend to carry on and grow WVG as I know Mike would want, and I want to assure you that our veterinarians and support staff will continue to offer the exceptional level of compassion and care that Mike showed everyone.”
She asked that any donations be made in Dr. Zareski’s memory to the hospital’s 4Ever Foundation.
Dr. Zareski was a 2002 graduate of the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine.
A college fund was established to support the Stellings’ three children. Olde Towne Animal Hospital’s Facebook page asked that any donations be mailed to The Children of Robert Stelling Jr., c/o Denise Rosko, P.O. Box 1335, Hampton Bays, N.Y. 11946.
Shanna Zareski wrote that “catastrophic engine failure” brought down the plane. The official cause remains under investigation.