WATCH: Vet at centre of abuse scandal is back at work
A St. Catharines veterinarian caught on video manhandling animals he was entrusted with caring for is back at work and seeing clients.
Dr. Mahavir Rekhi's licence was suspended by the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO) in July after admitting to professional misconduct. Rekhi had been caught on video shared by an ex-employee abusing nine different cats and dogs -- smacking them, forcefully holding them down, swinging them around.
NEWSTALK 1010's Jerry Agar Show called the Skyway Animal Hospital on the air Wednesday.
While a receptionist told NEWSTALK 1010 Rekhi was working Wednesday he is declining to be interviewed.
Rekhi told NEWSTALK 1010's sister station 610 CKTB NEWS in November that he "doesn't run away from things".
Initially suspended for 10 months, Rekhi's punishment was reduced to six months after paying $10,000 and taking part in six different training sessions focused on proper animal restraint and animal behaviour modification. His credentials were officially re-instated on Tuesday.
Rekhi will be subject to three unannounced inspections a year for two years. The vet will have to cover the cost of those inspections.
An LED sign outside the Skyway Animal Hospital Wednesday welcomed new patients. Rekhi treated at least one small dog on Wednesday morning. It is not clear if this was a new or a previous client.
The hospital has attracted protesters in recent months, some of them pelting the building with eggs and feces. A demonstration is planned for later Wednesday but over the lunch hour a woman apparently enraged by the clinic's re-opening stopped by and spewed a strong of expletives at the building while honking her car's horn.
"I'll be here every day, every day!," she vowed.
WARNING: EXPLICIT LANGUAGE
Bonnie Heslop/610 CKTB News
Mike Robinson whose dog Molly is among Rekhi's victims calls the re-opening "disappointing" and plans to continue to spread the word about the veterinarian's actions.
Robinson is not willing to give Rekhi the benefit of the doubt citing what he sees as a lack of remorse. He says he confronted the vet when the CVO informed him what had happened to Molly.
"I asked him what he did to my dog and he would not tell me," Robinson told NEWSTALK 1010 Wednesday. "All..he was trying to tell me what he was going to do to try and fix the problem. Unfortunately, I don't think you can fix his problem."
Investigators with the Lincoln County Humane Society carried out a search warrant at the hospital in early December. The society told NEWSTALK 1010 Monday the investigation is ongoing.
St. Catharines Council city council has formally asked the CVO to strengthen penalties for doctors convicted of abuse.
More protestors arriving at Skyway Animal Hospital as word spreads of reopening pic.twitter.com/8yl2GPNgvy— NewsTalk 610 CKTB (@610CKTB) February 22, 2017