Ohio woman faces charges after acting as veterinarian without license
Brandi Tomko, 35, of Akron, Ohio, has been indicted on 39 charges, including 19 felony and 20 misdemeanor counts, resulting from accusations that she acted as a veterinarian at C & D Animal Hospital without a license or any formal training.
The charges include practicing veterinary medicine without a license, five counts of cruelty to animals, two counts of deception to obtain a dangerous drug, identity fraud, three counts of selling a dangerous drug, 10 counts of possession of a dangerous drug, two counts of theft, five counts of injuring animals, assaulting or harassing an assistance dog and nine counts of prohibitions concerning companion animals, "in that she did knowingly torture, torment, needlessly mutilate or maim, cruelly beat, poison, needlessly kill or commit an act of cruelty against a companion animal," according to the indictment report.
Lt. Rick Edwards of the Akron Police department says Tomko also has several prior arrests for possesssion of cocaine and drug paraphernalia dating back to March 2011.Teresa Stir, executive director of the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board, confirmed that Tomko is not a licensed veterinarian and says the board received complaints regarding Tomko from several people, which led to an investigation and Tomko's arrest.
The first complaint came from pet owner Holly Devanich. According to her testimony in the complaint she filed with the Ohio veterinary board, Devanich took her dog, Teddy, to C & D Animal Hospital May 28, 2011, because he "had been having diarrhea all day and was not acting himself." Tomko was the only person working at the hospital. Tomko treated the dog and prescribed medication. After the visit Devanich researched Tomko to find out if she was indeed a licensed veterinarian or technician, and when she found out Tomko was not licensed to practice, she asked for a refund.
Another pet owner, Kenny Reymann, took his dog, Charlie, to C & D April 7, 2011, according to his complaint to the Ohio board. Tomko led him to believe she was a veterinarian and asked Reymann to pay for a blood test, exam and urine specimen. Two days later, Tomko called Reymann and said the results of the blood test were in. She told him Charlie was in renal failure and that he needed to be brought in for hospitalization or he would die.
"My dog was there for four days and was put on medicine and IV fluids," Reymann wrote in his complaint. "Each day I went in to see my dog, he looked worse and worse. Brandi assured me that he was getting better each day, but he quit eating and ended up not eating for five days straight."
Tomko released the dog on April 12. Reymann missed a call from Tomko that night saying she'd received the blood test results and was treating Charlie with the wrong medication. When Reymann woke up the next morning, he found Charlie dead on his living room floor.
The final complaint to the Ohio veterinary board came from Tim Harland, a senior humane officer at the Humane Society of Greater Akron. Harland says he received complaints at the humane society about Tomko performing surgery without a license (with at least one animal dying), taking blood without sending the sample to a lab but telling owners the results were negative, keeping expired medication in the office and not being present at the hospital when owners arrived to pick up their pets after a surgical procedure.
One of the complaints Harland sent to the veterinary board stated, "A report was received from a local animal rescue who took in two cats that had been spayed at C & D Animal Hospital. The incision sites were twice as long as needed and infected. The operations did not appear to be performed by a veterinarian."
Stir says all of the complaints were forwarded to the county prosecutor, which resulted in Tomko's indictment. Tomko's trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 11, 2012.