AKRON, Ohio – A Summit County woman is accused of killing and injuring pets while pretending to be a veterinarian.
Brandi Tomko, 35, of Tallmadge, Ohio is accused of practicing veterinary medicine without a license, prescribing dangerous medications and even performing surgeries, and in some cases, injuring or killing pets.
Tomko has previous drug convictions for possession of heroin and cocaine and was arrested on a charge of heroin possession, among others, in January.
"I just think a pet owner gets lucky once, when that one dog comes along. Charlie was the one," said Kenny Reymann, who lost his beloved dog Charlie last April after taking him into the C&D Veterinary Hospital in Akron for a checkup.
"The waiting room was just piled full of people and the sign said Animal Hospital, so of course I thought it was legit," Reymann said.
Now Tomko also faces charges of cruelty to animals, injuring animals and practicing without a license.
Reymann said Charlie was dead within days of allegedly being treated by Tomko for a disease he may never have had.
"I get down on myself a lot. I feel I failed him, I just think I should have saw the signs sooner," Reymann said.
C&D Animal Hospital on Brittain Road was once legitimate, but documents obtained from the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board allege when the real veterinarians left the practice, Tomko, who is not even a veterinary technician, stayed and kept it open -- illegally.
In the documents, another C&D employee alleges to investigators:
- (Tomko) has performed surgery on clients' animals and in at least one case the cat died.
- Blood for heart worm tests was drawn, but "the blood work was not done and the dog owners were told the test was negative."
- In the case of two cats that were spayed at C&D, "the incision sites were twice as long as needed and infected. The operations did not appear to be performed by a veterinarian."
Several pet owners, including Reymann, became suspicious and alerted authorities.
"So I just started digging. I got on the Ohio [Veterinary Medical Licensing Board] website and searched for her. Nothing, not even as a tech," Reymann said.
The 33 count indictment alleges Tomko acted as a licensed veterinarian from April 2011 to October 2011.
The building, which once housed C&D Animal Hospital, now sits vacant.
Tomko sits in jail after pleading not guilty Tuesday to 33 charges.
Reymann will never have Charlie back, but he's hoping now Charlie, and the other pets, will have some justice.
"Today is a great day," Reymann said.