BREAKING: Charges dropped against St.Catharines Vet

It's a decision that will outrage many in Niagara.

All charges have been dropped against the controversial St. Catharines vet who was facing 16 criminal counts of animal cruelty.

Doctor Mahavir Rekhi, the owner of Skyway Animal Hospital on Welland Ave. was facing eight counts of causing unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal and eight counts of failing to provide suitable and adequate care for an animal.

His lawyers were in court this morning when it was announced that the Crown has withdrawn all charges.

The Crown's lawyer saying that since the OSPCA went to the College of Vets for information rather than the other way around Rekhi is protected by the Charter.

The lawyer says since the OSPCA started the investigation and received a warrant without a complaint, Rekhi should not have been charged regardless of public outrage surrounding the case and since the College of Vets already took disciplinary action that should be all he gets.

The College of Veterinarians of Ontario suspended him for ten months for professional misconduct in August of 2016.

He was ordered to pay the college $10,000, be retrained to properly restrain animals, and is subject to three unannounced inspections each year for two years.

His suspension was cut down to six months after he completed the retraining program and prepared a paper about what he has learned.

Dr. Rekhi returned to work in February at the Welland Ave. clinic.

Kevin Strooband, an Officer with the OSPCA from the Lincoln County Humane Society tells CKTB the media alerted him to the videos that were released publicly, and he acted.

Strooband compares this situation to a police officer who stumbles across a body, saying of course the officer would launch an investigation.

He says he brought all of the evidence to the Crown, and they agreed charges were warranted.

The disgraced vet was not there in person today, but 20 protestors wearing shirts saying 'Animals don't have a voice so you will never stop hearing me' expressed disgust and disappointment as the crown withdrew the charges.

It was last year CTV News Toronto first aired shocking video of Dr.Rekhi abusing animals in his care.

Protestors were outside the clinic daily saying they were warning the public about his past and that he was unfit to treat animals.

The criminal charges were then laid in June.