Chicago DVM accused of covering up dog fights
CHICAGO — A Park Forest veterinarian who allegedly covered up dog fights and issued fraudulent rabies certifications, among other things, has been arrested. His veterinary and controlled substances licenses were also suspended in a 21-count complaint filed with the veterinary board.
The Cook County Sheriff's Office arrested Dr. Gary Friederich, 64, on Dec. 2 at his Palos Park home in the south Chicago area. The sheriff's Animal Crimes Unit amassed a number of charges against Friederich over the course of a five-month investigation, spurred by complaints ranging from poor veterinary care to failure to report suspected dogfighting, police records show. On numerous visits to Park Forest Animal Hospital, owned by Friederich, undercover officers presented dogs admittedly involved in fights and allege to have instructed Friederich to treat and return the dogs in fighting condition within a few days. Upon the officers' return to the clinic, Friederich allegedly handed officers rabies certificates and presented them with a $55 bill for the vaccinations and a $145 bill for the hospital stay. Follow-up examinations of the dogs found that rabies vaccination never had been administered, and that the dogs had contracted kennel cough and flea infestations during their stay, police say. During another visit, Friederich allegedly fulfilled an officer's request for painkillers and other narcotics for two pit bulls without seeing either of them. Friederich could not be reached for comment at presstime.
The sheriff's office charged Friederich with six counts of violating the standards of the Illinois Veterinary Medical and Surgery Practice Act, and turned its investigation reports over to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (DFPR), Division of Professional Regulation, which temporarily suspended Friederich's veterinary license and veterinary and controlled substances license on Nov. 23.The DFPR set a hearing before an administrative judge and the veterinary board for Dec. 21. At presstime, DFPR was set to hear the complaint based on the following counts: four counts of willfully making or filing false records; two counts of fraudulent use or misuse of any healthcare certificate that might lead to dissemination of disease; two counts of making false statements for collection of fees for which services are not rendered; three counts of violating labeling requirements for prescriptions; one count of writing a prescription without a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship; one count of practice outside a veterinarian-client-patient relationship; one count of prescribing without good faith basis; one count of failure to report animal fighting; one count of keeping his premises and equipment in unsanitary conditions; one count of insufficient record keeping; one count of failure to complete a biannual inventory; one count of professional incompetence; one count of gross malpractice; and one count of unprofessional conduct. Affidavits affirming these charges were signed by DFPR investigator Andrew Ramirez and William H. Wright, DVM.
Friederich has been disciplined by the DFPR six times, including a prior suspension from September 1988 to March 1989.
Friederich's next court date on his criminal charges is set for Jan. 31, 2011.