Fake Veterinarian Charged with Injuring Animals

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CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio -- Holly Denavich says when her Yorkie terrier mix named "Teddy" became sick last May, she became concerned about the animal becoming dehydrated.

She took him to the nearby C&D Animal Hospital on Brittain Road, where she says the only person at the business was Brandi Tomko.

"My regular vet was closed for Memorial Day weekend, and when I walked in, Brandi was just in street clothes, and everything seemed a little sketchy but I had asked her if she was the vet who was going to be seeing my dog, and she said, 'Yes,' " said Denavich.

Denavich says Tomko told her their credit card machine was "fried" so they could only accept a check or cash. She left Teddy at the clinic and went to her bank to withdraw money for the visit.

She says when she got back, Tomko was at the front desk and told her she was finished with Teddy.

"I asked her what his temperature was; she said, 'Oh, it was normal,' and so I paid her, and when I gave her the money, she told me that she would have to get the change out of her car."

"There was no veterinary license hanging in the office or anything, so when I came home, I had been talking to some people about it and looked up on the Ohio Board of Veterinarians and her name wasn't on there," said Denavich.

Denavich says she confronted Tomko who admitted she was not really a licensed veterinarian.

"At first, I asked her if she was a vet and she said, 'Yes,' and I told her I looked her up on the Ohio Board of Veterinarians and (she was not listed) on there, and she said, 'Well, I'm the vet tech,' and I said, 'Well, OK, you can also look on there for vet techs, and you are not on there,' and she got quiet and said, 'Well, I'm going to school to be a vet tech,' " Denavich said.

Denavich says she threatened to turn Tomko in to the State Veterinary Board if she did not refund the money for the visit.

"She was treating animals that she had no business treating. She was, you know, portraying herself to be a veterinarian when she wasn't, and my animals are very dear to me, and I felt horrible that I even left my dog with her," said Denavich, who got her refund, but turned Tomko in anyway.

On Wednesday, Tomko remained in the Summit County Jail charged with practicing without a license, injuring animals, cruelty to animals and various drug charges.

During her visit, Denavich says Tomko wrote three prescriptions for Teddy, which she stopped giving to her dog after realizing Tomko was not really a vet.

"I thought it was funny that her name was on the prescriptions but she said she had consulted a veterinarian and they told her what to write for him, and then I said, 'What are those veterinarians' names,' and she couldn't produce any names.

Denavich believes Teddy recovered in spite of, not because of Tomko.

Some others have not been as fortunate.

Kenny Reymann lost his beloved dog Charlie last April after taking him into the C&D Veterinary Hospital for a checkup.

In court 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."

"I don't see what normal person would wake up one day and decide, I'm going to play veterinarian and perform surgery on animals or try to treat an animal when you have no background or medical knowledge on how to treat an animal," said Denavich.