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  Complaint Filed With Ohio Attorney General Takes Issue With Treatment Some Dogs Endured At Animal Charity Agency  
  December 10, 2020 Edition  
     BY JOHN A. DARNELL JR.
      associate editor
      A former staff veterinarian at Animal Charity, 4140 Market St., filed a complaint with the Office of the Ohio Attorney General/Charitable Law Section in Feb., 2018, decrying the treatment of some dogs and animals in the care of the agency.
      The staff veterinarian at Animal Charity from May, 2014 to June, 2015, and from April, 2016 to October, 2017, claims the agency does not always operate in the best interests of the humane treatment of animals; and as well, questions the role of the agency’s administration in day-to-day operations.
      The vet says a dog named Bella, who was found in deplorable conditions and deplorable health during a drug raid, was brought to Animal Charity “barely recognizable as a dog.”
      Suffering from bacterial and fungal skin infections, as well as advanced ear infection, the vet said that Bella was placed into Animal Charity’s kennel in Canfield for two years “where her medications were not given as needed...Bella went from one cage to another.”
      According to the vet, a dog named Gwinny was brought to Animal Charity in 2016 after her owner had passed away.
      “Gwinny was diagnosed with advanced heartworm disease and thoracic radiographs revealed evidence of heart damage when she was brought in,” the vet said.
      Although Gwinny ended-up going through treatment successfully, the vet said that the dog “was left to suffer needlessly for over a month...from neglect and lack of acknowledgement of [Animal Charity] medical staff recommendations.”
      Sometime in the fall or winter of 2016, the vet said a dog with no tongue, ‘Bubbles,’ was brought to Animal Charity. According to the complaint filed with the Ohio AG’s Office, said the defect was either the result of surgery or a birth defect. A second opinion was obtained that stated the reason for the lack of a tongue was “inconclusive.”
      However, the vet claimed that Animal Charity’s executive director, Lisa Hill, “wanted me to say that this dog had been used for fighting and that his tongue had been maliciously cut out.” The vet said she was ordered to make that claim “for donation reasons and increased media attention.”
      Records of Animal Charity show the agency received three donations in 2017 totaling $638,130; including an $8980 gift from Michael Simon, a $152,676 contribution from the estate of Dolores Falfiani, and a $521,474 gift from the Marie Neag Trust.
      In the complaint, the vet said a puppy, ‘Tahoe,’ had a heart murmur and required an advanced cardiac procedure.
      “While $500,000 had been donated to Animal Charity several months before Tahoe was brought to the agency,” the vet said a Facebook post stated “Tahoe would die without donations since his procedure was so expensive. Meanwhile, more than enough funds were available.”
      In another instance in late 2016, a dog named ‘Chunk,’ that had been hit by a car, was brought to Animal Charity.
      “Chunk was immobile, unable to move any of his limbs. It was determined that he had spinal/head trauma and that a skull scan was needed to fully evaluate his condition, as well as for best prognosis and treatment options,” the vet said, charging that Animal Charity Board President, Mary Louk told her “if he dies, he dies.”
      According to the vet, Chunk’s story had a happy ending, as the pooch made a full recovery.
      In the spring of 2017, Animal Charity seized a puppy, ‘Goofy,’ who had been found tied to a fence post.
      “Goofy had some birth defects, as well as some dental abnormalities which may have been attributed to exposure to distemper,” the vet said, adding “Before I could even explain this, Executive Director Lisa Hill wanted him euthanized.”
      The vet said she proposed to test the puppy for distemper before euthanization and keep the dog in quarantine until the results came back.
      “I took this puppy home and ended-up adopting him once the results came back negative,” the vet said
      Additionally, the vet said that three dogs were put down between April, 2016 and October, 2017 at the direction of Animal Charity’s board president, Mary Louk.
      “Any euthanasia determination is supposed to be made at a consensus of the board president, executive director and staff veterinarian, along with a written recommendation by canine behaviorists,” the vet said, adding “This never happened.”
      The vet said Animal Charity’s directors go against medical advice and force ‘the doctor’ to do what they want, versus what is in the best interest of the animal.”
 
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