OTTAWA – National animal law organization Animal Justice is applauding authorities for laying criminal animal cruelty charges against a St. Catharines veterinarian who was secretly filmed abusing pets in his veterinary clinic.
Animal Justice filed a criminal cruelty complaint with the Ontario SPCA and Lincoln County Humane Society last September after secret footage aired on CTV News. The footage depicted Dr. Mahavir Singh Rekhi illegally abusing animals, including:
Hitting a dog over the muzzle with a metal object;
Choking a chihuahua so hard that the dog defecated;
Swinging an unconscious, anaesthetized cat by the tail against a table;
Restraining animals roughly in a way likely to cause them to suffer.
Dr. Rekhi was convicted of professional misconduct by the College of Veterinarians of Ontario in July of 2016, but his sentence was a short 10-month suspension. The suspension could be further reduced if Dr. Rekhi completed two-and-a-half days of remedial training. He registered to practice veterinary medicine again on February 21, 2017.
“There should be no second chances for vets who abuse pets,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “The unacceptably weak suspension from the College of Veterinarians meant that criminal prosecution was the only way to keep this abusive vet out of the clinic and prevent him from hurting other animals.
“Animal Justice is pleased that authorities took this case seriously and will prosecute Dr. Rekhi for the blatant animal cruelty he inflicted on the vulnerable, trusting animals who were placed in his care. It is particularly noteworthy that Dr. Rekhi is facing 16 charges under the Criminal Code, and not merely under provincial laws. Laying criminal charges is the strongest possible way to condemn illegal, unacceptable behaviour, and criminal charges are well-deserved in this case of egregious abuse.”
Dr. Rekhi will appear in a St. Catharines courtroom on July 14, 2017.
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