The Incredible Dr. Pol

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The Incredible Dr. Pol
GenreReality television
Created byJon Schroder
Developed byCharles Pol
Narrated byAri Rubin
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons17
No. of episodes198 (2020)
ProducerCharles Pol
Production locationsWeidman, Michigan
Running time44–50 minutes
Production companies
Original networkNat Geo Wild
Original release2011–present
External links

The Incredible Dr. Pol is an American reality television show on Nat Geo Wild that follows Dutch-born veterinarian Jan Pol and his family and employees at his practice in rural Weidman, Michigan.[1][2][3] The subject matter, its cast, and its long running popularity on cable television are seen as an odd mix.[2] The series premiered in 2011 and has two seasons every year, for a total of 17 through August 2020.[4]


Diane and Jan Pol in 2019
  • Jan Pol (born on 4 September 1942, in Wateren, Netherlands),[5] studied veterinary medicine at Utrecht University, graduating in 1970. Moved with his wife Diane to Harbor Beach, Michigan, and Pol worked for a veterinarian for more than 10 years. They then moved to Weidman, Michigan, where they started their own practice, Pol Veterinary Services, out of their home in 1981.[6][7][8] His practice has transformed from large animals to a mix with small animals. Because of the unavailability of emergency care animal hospitals in this rural area, emergencies make up a large portion of the practice.[9] He claims to have served more than 19,000 clients in his many years of practice.[8] Dr. Pol says that despite his advancing years, he can't retire: there are not veterinarians stepping into the breach to take care of farm animals.[10]
  • Diane Pol (born in Mayville, Michigan, in 1943), met Jan Pol when he was a foreign exchange student at Mayville High School in 1961. She has a master's degree in Special Reading and used to be a teacher at Harbor Beach Elementary School. Diane and Jan have been married for 50 years.[11]
  • Charles Pol (graduated from the University of Miami in Florida, 2003)[12] is producer.[2][13]
  • Brenda Grettenberger (born in 1967, Eaton Rapids, Michigan) graduated from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1992.[14]
  • Emily Thomas (born in 1984 in Warner Robins, Georgia) graduated from University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010, is married and the mother of three children. Emily left the practice (and the show) in 2019. She relocated with her family to take a job in Virginia.[15]


Filming The Incredible Dr. Pol in 2019

Pol is surprised that the show became a hit "watched by everybody—all kinds of life, all ages, big family show, and I think this is what is so fantastic.” He credits his son Charles, who is the series producer, and who successfully pitched the series to National Geographic. According to Pol, Charles counseled him, “Dad, do your work. That is interesting enough. Don’t look at the camera, don’t do anything for the camera.” Pol continues. "... it’s not scripted; it is real”[13]

Viewer's complaint and legal fall-out[edit]

Pol's performance has received a mixed reception by veterinarians.[16]

In 2012, a disciplinary board placed Dr. Pol on probation for negligence and incompetence for his treatment and care of a Boston terrier that was hit by a car and suffered an eye proptosis and broken pelvis in May 2011; the owners of the dog were happy with the care it had been given but Pol's treatment of a dog, as depicted on the show, spawned the complaint from a veterinarian viewer, not the pet's owner.[17][18]

In 2013, Michigan Speaker of the House Kevin Cotter sponsored House Bill 5176, seeking to prohibit authorities from investigating reports of misconduct or allegations “based upon information obtained from viewing the broadcast of a reality program.”[17] Dr. Pol testified in favor of the bill. It was referred to the House Health Policy Committee in December 2013, died in committee, and has not been re-introduced.[17]

In April 2015, government regulators in Michigan found Pol in violation for his treatment and care of the Boston terrier that was treated in May 2011.[17] A disciplinary subcommittee of the Michigan Board of Veterinary Medicine had decided on 26 March to fine Dr. Pol $500 and put his license on probation for not complying with standards of care required by the state. Pol was also ordered to complete an educational course. His sentencing was overturned, however, by the Michigan Court of Appeals, which stated that “the owners of the dog were happy with the care it has been given” and called the previous decision by the subcommittee "arbitrary and capricious".[8][19][20]

In 2016, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, holding inter alia that there was no competent evidence that there was a breach of the standard of care.[21] There were supporters of the ruling based on notions of elemental due process, including vagueness of the charge, lack of an objective and clear legal standard, and variance of the evidence presented from the charges lodged.[22] At this juncture, a spokesman from Mackinac Center for Public Policy opined that consumers and the market place, not an officious government, should be able to make care decisions for their animals.[17]

However, in late 2019 after remand, the Michigan Court of Appeals in another unpublished decision, wrote an extended opinion which affirmed the lower decisions that imposed the discipline.[23]


  1. ^ Zimlich, Rachael (November 1, 2011). "The Incredible Dr. Pol". DVM360 Magazine. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Ali, Lorraine (February 16, 2018). "TELEVISION: Calf pulling and puppy worming: rural vet Dr. Pol is reality TV's most unlikely star". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 7, 2020.
  3. ^ James, Katie (July 1, 2016). "Michigan appeals court finds in favor of Dr. Pol. Overturns disciplinary action ordered by state regulatory board in relation to negligence, incompetence findings". Veterinary News. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  4. ^ "Full Episode Guide". The Incredible Dr. Pol. Weidman, Michigan. Retrieved 16 July 2019. S1.E1: Oct 29, 2011 ... S17.E14: August 15, 2020 (only accessible from the United States or its territories)
  5. ^ Dr. Jan Pol verified Twitter account [@drpol] (4 September 2018). "On this date in 1942, Dr. Pol was born in Wateren, The Netherlands" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 7 April 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2019 – via Twitter.
  6. ^ "Meet the Pol Team-Dr.Pol". National Geographic TV network. 19 July 2012. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  7. ^ Meet Dr.Pol - website Santee School District (pdf)
  8. ^ a b c "Dr. Pol wiki, bio, married, wife Diane Pol, children, age, net worth". Mar 3, 2018. Retrieved Jan 5, 2020.
  9. ^ Soltes, John (December 31, 2019). "INTERVIEW: Dr. Pol looks back at 2019, ahead at 2020". Retrieved January 5, 2020.
  10. ^ Cutler, Jacqueline (March 8, 2018). "Incredible Dr. Pol' can't retire because other vets won't treat farm animals". USA TODAY.
  11. ^ "Facts vet and Wild". 29 September 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  12. ^ Arnold, Carrie (28 February 2014). "Q&A: The Real Story of 'The Incredible Dr. Pol'". Archived from the original on 20 May 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  13. ^ a b Andy Dehnart (July 5, 2018). "National Geographic: How The Incredible Dr. Pol is filmed: an interview with Dr. Pol". Reality Blurred. Retrieved January 5, 2020.
  14. ^ "Meet the Pol Team– Dr.Brenda". 19 July 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  15. ^ "Dr. Emily Thomas Wiki: Married, husband, Kids, age, Net Worth". Thecelebsinfo. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  16. ^ Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMD (August 3, 2019). "Why the "Incredible" Dr. Pol Is So Controversial in the Vet World". Retrieved January 5, 2020. Cable TV’s famous veterinarian has faced charges of negligence and incompetence since his show first aired.
  17. ^ a b c d e Draplin, Derek (July 12, 2016). "News Story: Court Overrules Licensing Board, Exonerates Vet Who Saved Dog". CapCon. Reality TV viewer complained after Dr. Pol helped Mr. Pigglesworth
  18. ^ Scheidegger, Julie (October 5, 2012). "Dr. Pol, reality TV veterinarian, fined and placed on probation for negligence, incompetence". DVM360 Magazine. Retrieved January 5, 2020. National Geographic says disciplinary action will not affect the highly rated show.
  19. ^ Zimlich, Rachael. "Some reviews of 'The Incredible Dr. Pol' reality show not so incredible". Veterinary News. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  20. ^ "davidreyes — Articles tagged Documentary". August 13, 2018. Archived from the original on August 13, 2018.
  21. ^ "BUREAU OF HEALTH CARE SERVICES V JAN H POL DVM DVM Bureau of Professional Licensing v. Jan H. Pol, DVM (Per Curiam Opinion) Case No. 327346". Justia. June 23, 2016. pp. 1, 9.
  22. ^ David Carser, BVSC, LLB, CML (January 12, 2018). "Why the Bureau of Health Care Services v. Dr. Pol is so important". Retrieved January 5, 2010. Dr. Jan Pol was found guilty of not meeting required minimum standards of veterinary care, but his conviction and penalty were reversedCS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  23. ^ "IN RE JAN H POL DVM Bureau of Professional Licensing v. Jan H. Pol, DVM (Per Curiam Opinion) (Unpublished) Case No. 34666". Justia. December 19, 2019.

External links[edit]