By Veterinary Practice Editors
Dr. Mahavir Rekhi of Skyway Animal Hospital in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, the veterinarian who made national headlines for animal abuse, has been charged with 16 counts of animal cruelty.
Rekhi faces eight counts of causing unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal and eight counts of failing to provide suitable and adequate care for an animal.
The Ontario SPCA and the Lincoln County Humane Society launched the criminal investigation on Sept. 14 relating to abuse at his clinic that occurred in 2013.
The case’s complainants—former employees—went public with video evidence that shows Rekhi hitting and choking dogs in his care.
After a disciplinary hearing by the College of Veterinarians of Ontario, Rekhi’s license was suspended for six months, and he was fined $10,000 and ordered to undergo retraining and mentoring by the college. After fulfilling the mandates, Rekhi’s license was reinstated in February, but he still is subject to three surprise inspections each year for the next two years.
Rekhi is scheduled to appear in a St. Catharines courtroom on July 14.
“The college is unequivocal in its position that animal abuse and neglect is never acceptable,” said Kim Huson, a communications specialist with the College of Veterinarians of Ontario. “The college will carefully review the information related to these serious charges and follow the progress of this case to determine if future action is necessary concerning Dr. Rekhi’s license to practice veterinary medicine in Ontario.”
“There should be no second chances for vets who abuse pets,” said Camille Labchuk, a lawyer and 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.”