WATCH: Animal cruelty charges against St. Catharines vet dropped

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

Dr. Mahavir Rekhi, the owner of Skyway Animal Hospital 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.

The Crown's lawyer says that since the OSPCA went to the College of Veterinarians for information rather than the other way around Rekhi is protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedom.

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.

He says even though Dr. Rekhi can legally practice he has virtually no patients, operating his clinic only on Saturdays.

The disgraced vet was not in court Friday 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.

In August 2016, the College of Veterinarians of Ontario suspended him for ten months for professional misconduct. 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 was greeted by protestors when he returned to work in February.

The criminal charges were laid in June.

with files from Siobhan Morris