AKRON, Ohio — Brandi Tomko, 36, showed no emotion as Summit County Common Pleas Judge Paul Gallagher found her guilty of all 8 remaining charges in the indictment against her, including practicing without a license.
Tomko was accused of portraying herself as a veterinarian at the C&D Animal Hospital on Britain Road in Akron.
Clients who testified against her said she was the only one they saw when they brought their animals to the clinic.
They testified that she diagnosed their pets’ illnesses, read x-rays, dispensed medications, and performed procedures as though she was a veterinarian.
After a three day trial without a jury, Judge Gallagher read off the verdicts without commentary.
Tomko was found guilty of two felonies including identity fraud and forgery. The charges relate to her faking the signature of an actual veterinarian on documents to get medical supplies for the clinic.
The charge of practice without a license is a misdemeanor, as are additional charges of theft and prohibition concerning a companion animal for which she was also found guilty on Friday.
Among those present for the verdicts was Kenny Reymann, whose dog Charlie died after spending several days at the clinic where the animal was treated for renal failure.
During her testimony on Thursday, Tomko said everything she did for Reymann’s dog was with the consent of a licensed veterinarian who was at the clinic but in a different room.
“My perception of what Mr. Reymann understood, was that somebody needed to be a miracle worker,” Tomko said in her testimony.
From the witness stand on Thursday she also denied ever having identified herself as a veterinarian or as a vet tech to Reymann.
But several of the charges, including theft of services and practice without a license for which she was found guilty, related specifically to her care of Charlie.
After the verdicts were read on Friday, Reymann said he was “Emotional, I feel real good.”
“Everybody and their brother told me nothing is going to happen to her. She’s going to get a slap on the wrist like she always does and we were all wrong,” said Reymann.
Reymann said he almost walked out during Tomko’s testimony on Thursday during which she said every one of her accusers were either lying or were mistaken.
“It was hard to sit through,” said Reymann. “I know everything she said on that stand was a lie, every word.”
“She’s responsible for every person’s pet that she worked on in there, whether they lived or died, whether they were hurt or not hurt, whether they were put to sleep or not,” added Reymann.
Also in court for the verdicts was Robert McGee, a Persian Gulf War veteran who believes Tomko contributed to the death of his service dog named Allie.
A felony charge involving McGee were dropped late Wednesday when Judge Gallagher determined that Allie’s death ten months after his visit with Tomko was not related to her care of him.
But McGee returned to the courtroom afterwards along with his current service dog named ‘Sam,’ carrying a box containing the ashes of Allie.
McGee testified during the trial that he believed Tomko to be a veterinarian.
“The girl who was working there said for an extra fee we could call a vet back in to treat the dog and it was fine with us at the time and while we were waiting within five minutes Ms. Tomko came in and just looked at Allie and said she has diabetes without even having looked at her,” he testified.
Following sentencing McGee said he was feeling “Wonderful, great.”
“I’m very happy with the judge’s decision,” said McGee.
“I would have liked to see her spend a lot of time in jail, but with everything that’s going on and a lot of the misdemeanors, I dont see a lot of jail time,” he added.
Tomko’s attorney, John Grevin, said in the original 40-count indictment returned against her she was facing the possibility of fifteen years in prison if found guilty of the original charges.
He was grateful that Judge Gallagher eventually whittled the case down to only 8, but not happy with the verdicts.
Grevin chose to try the case without a jury because he believed the emotional nature of the case, involving pets, would weigh heavily on a jury panel.
“All of our arguments were legal arguments and frankly when you have people who are caught up with emotion sometimes they fail to even care about the legal arguments,” said Grevin.
“We are disappointed. We believe the state failed to meet the legal burden in several of the charges she was found guilty of, so when all is said and done we plan to appeal all of the charges and go from there.”
“The state’s argument was that some of the services that were done were done by Brandi, not by the veterinarian but none of those people were able to say that a veterinarian did not operate on my dog and somebody else because nobody was back there when it happened and that’s going to be the focus of our appeal. We believe it was up to the state to prove that a veterinarian was not involved,” added Grevin.
Following the verdicts, Tomko also pleaded guilty to unrelated drug charges stemming from her arrest following a traffic stop.
Judge Gallagher has set sentencing for March 15.