An Elburn veterinarian who also sells "ragdoll" cats has sued to find out who created several websites and orchestrated a campaign she says has hurt her reputation.
Jennifer A. Creed, owner A+ Pet Vet and Dr. Jenn's Ragdolls, seeks unspecified damages for libel and defamation against John Does 1-5 in a recently filed lawsuit in Kane County.
"We have to find out who it is. That's where it's going next," Creed said. "It's just total b.s. You can't hop online and say anything about anybody."
The websites claim Creed bred and kept the kittens in poor conditions, did not care for them properly, and that the felines were diseased, aggressive and bit their owners.
Ragdoll cats, which are known for their blue eyes, are supposed to be docile and they go limp like a rag doll when held.
One website was still operating as of Tuesday.
To see the site's content, the viewer must to click on a disclaimer saying the viewer would not hold the website liable for any of its views and that opinions were protected by the First Amendment.
A thread of 40 responses dating back to October urges people to not do business with Creed, who is described as "greedy," a "crook," compassionless and running a messy clinic.
"It is the goal of this website to put her out of business and to revoke her veterinary license!" the top of the site states.
A couple people who posted gave her good reviews or feedback. Creed's lawsuit contends the complaints are not only unfounded, but made with actual malice, a key component of a libel lawsuit.
"The defendants have engaged in efforts to damage, discredit, disparage, and destroy the plaintiff's professional reputation and business," wrote Creed's attorney, Charles Mudd, in the lawsuit. "The defendants have intentionally interfered with plaintiff's business by creating multiple websites on the Internet designed for this purpose, publishing false and defamatory statements."
According to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Creed received her veterinary license in 1993 and has never been disciplined.
Creed says she also has received anonymous emails and phone calls.
"They're escalating, whoever it is. I have to deal with them," she said. "I feel threatened and I feel like they're threatening my family."
As for the ragdoll breeding, Creed said she's only been selling kittens for two years and it more of a hobby than a business.
The lawsuit is next due in Kane County court June 26.
Even though the lawsuit currently lists John Does as defendants, attorneys can subpoena an Internet Protocol, or IP, address from a service provider to find out who started the websites.