Protest outside Skyway Animal Hospital where vet suspended
Courtney Greenberg, CTV News Toronto
Published Monday, February 20, 2017 6:15PM EST
A small group of protesters gathered in front of an animal hospital in St. Catharines on Monday to raise awareness about a veterinarian who worked there and was accused of abusing pets.
Dr. Mahavir Rekhi had his licence to practice suspended five months ago over the treatment of animals in his care -- and former clients are worried Skyway Animal Hospital could reopen now that the suspension is over.
In front of the animal hospital, protesters held signs that read “Voice for the voiceless” and “Ban Dr. Evil.”
Mike Robinson’s dog Molly was part of the investigation into Rekhi.
“We are trying to get the message out there to as many people as we can that this is the vet who abused these animals. We can't stop him from practicing but we want to put a dent in his business and try to force him out of here,” Robinson told CTV News Toronto at the animal hospital, located at Welland Avenue and Bunting Road.
It has remained closed since videos surfaced showing pets being choked, their noses with clippers and a cat under anesthetic being held by its legs and swinging it as it was taken into surgery.
“I have yet to hear him say he is sorry. He never apologized publicly or privately,” Robinson said. “If you are not remorseful, then I think you get what you get.”
Another dog owner, Brandon Fairbairn, started a Go Fund Me campaign to hire a lawyer and launch a civil suit after he alleged his dog Takoda, an Alaskan Malamute, was abused.
Takoda appeared in the video footage “multiple times,” according to the Go Fund Me page, when he was only four months old.
“He shouldn’t be able to touch animals for the rest of his life, at least, or own one,” Fairbairn said at the protest.
Back in September 2016, the veterinarian was handed a 10-month suspension by the College of Veterinarians of Ontario but because he completed a series of “mentorship sessions” to learn about the proper handling of animals, his sentence was reduced.
The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said they are still investigating to determine whether they will lay animal cruelty charges against Rekhi.