You may remember Dr Rekhi. He is a veterinarian who I heavily criticised in a post that I wrote on September 20, 2016. He was videoed by veterinary technicians abusing animals 12 times. He punched, choked and hit vulnerable dogs and cats at his clinic. They reported him to the licensing authorities. He works at the Skyway Animal Hospital in St Catharines, Ontario, Canada.
Subsequently he was charged. He faced eight counts of causing unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal and a further eight counts of failing to provide suitable and adequate care for an animal. As mentioned, he was videoed abusing animals in his care. That’s the long and the short of it.
Dr Rekhi’s licence to practice veterinary medicine was suspended on August 20, 2016 after a disciplinary hearing. He was also fined $10,000. He was ordered to do some retraining and to be mentored. He complied with the authority’s demands and his licence was reinstated on February 20, 2017. He reopened his practice at Skyway Animal Hospital. He is subject to unannounced inspections annually for the next two years.
To summarise, he was charged with the crime of animal abuse and his licence was suspended and reinstated and he now works under certain restrictions. However, we are now told by Animal Justice that the prosecutor has just dropped the 16 charges of animal cruelty against him and of course everybody who is aware of this case will be shocked at the outcome.
Also, people following this case will be dismayed to learn that Dr Rekhi’s licences has not been revoked. Animal Justice say that if the justice system cannot convict an animal abuser when there is clear video evidence of vicious cruelty then there is a serious problem in the system and with the veterinary licensing authorities. It is a clear sign that they are are not taking animal cruelty seriously enough.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be shocked or surprised. I think that it is fair to say that it is not uncommon for veterinarians to get away with this sort of thing. There are other high-profile cases such as the Kristen Lindsey case which are not dissimilar in terms of the authorities closing ranks to protect veterinarians.