St. Catharines vet caught choking, punching animals on tape is back on the job
An animal is handled by Dr. Mahavir Singh Rekhi in this image captured from a video.
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, February 22, 2017 11:47AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 22, 2017 11:54AM EST
An Ontario veterinarian caught on video hitting and choking animals in his care at a St. Catharines vet clinic is back on the job.
Staff at the Skyway Animal Hospital confirmed to CP24 Wednesday that veterinarian Mahavir Singh Rekhi had returned to work after he was suspended for misconduct last summer.
Rekhi pleaded guilty to professional misconduct at a College of Veterinarians of Ontario hearing in July after four employees filed a complaint about the vet’s mistreatment of animals.
The employees submitted dozens of surveillance videos as evidence in the case and an agreed statement of facts from the college's decision said Rekhi "improperly handled or restrained and/or mistreated, struck or abused animals in his care."
According to the statement, in Oct. 2013, Rekhi “grabbed Taz, a Chihuahua, by the throat and punched the dog multiple times in the face.”
Another incident documented in the case indicates that Rekhi also hit a husky in the face while the dog was under anesthetic during a neuter procedure.
Rekhi was handed a $10,000 fine and a 10-month suspension, with the option of reducing the suspension to six months if he attended training programs.
Speaking to The Canadian Press in September, the doctor’s lawyer said following the release of some of the videos, Rekhi received death threats and feared for his family’s safety.
His lawyer argued that the videos were viewed without context and that Rekhi, who attended veterinary school in India, came from a place where animals were treated “differently.”
A small group of protesters gathered in front of the animal hospital, located at Welland Avenue and Bunting Road, on Monday after the suspension was lifted.
Mike Robinson, who attended Monday's protest, told CTV News Toronto that his 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," Robinson said.
"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."
-With files from The Canadian Press