Disturbing Footage Shows Dr. Mahavir Rekhi of Skyway Animal Hospital Viciously Abusing Animals
A St. Catharines veterinarian is charged with 16 counts of animal cruelty under the Criminal Code of Canada relating to abuse at his clinic that occurred in 2013.
The Ontario SPCA and Lincoln County Humane Society served Dr. Mahavir Rekhi Thursday morning at Skyway Animal Hospital on Welland Avenue, SPCA Insp. Scott Sylvia said.
Rekhi is scheduled to appear in a St. Catharines courtroom on July 14. The case is now in the hands of the Crown attorney.
The criminal charges have yet to be proven in court.
At noon Thursday, Rekhi’s office was locked and in darkness. The parking lot was empty except for a news van from a local television station. Attempts to reach Rekhi were not successful.
A small group of protesters began gathering near the parking lot in the afternoon as word of the charges spread.
“A great deal of information was brought forth during this investigation,” said Regional Insp. Carol VanderHeide of the Ontario SPCA. “The investigations team thoroughly examined all relevant evidence, which allowed us to proceed with 16 charges against the accused.”
Rekhi is facing eight counts of causing unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal. He is also charged with a further eight counts of failing to provide suitable and adequate care for an animal.
Insp. Scott Sylvia said the Ontario SPCA and Lincoln County Humane Society launched the criminal investigation on Sept. 14, 2016, after the media reported that the College of Veterinarians of Ontario had suspended Rekhi’s licence.
“We have conducted investigations that concluded in a shorter period of time — when the evidence was more readily available or more clear,” Sylvia said. “Because we learned about it through the media, we had to start from scratch.
“There is no time limit on this because it is an indictable offence, and for something of this nature we want to make sure we did a very thorough job.”
Rekhi’s licence was suspended by the college for abusing animals in his care on Aug. 20, 2016, after a disciplinary hearing. He was also fined $10,000.
Rekhi fulfilled all of the college’s conditions, which included some re-training and mentoring, and had his licence reinstated on Feb. 20.
He re-opened his practice at Skyway Animal Hospital but is still subject to three surprise inspections each year for the next two years stemming from his discipline order.
The case made national headlines when the complainants, who were former employees, went public with video evidence they had gathered as part of their complaint to the college. The employees believed the college’s penalties were too lenient.
WARNING: Video contains graphic scenes of animal abuse