AKRON, Ohio - A 35-year-old Akron woman charged with cruelty to animals, identity fraud and practicing without a license faced her accusers in court Monday morning.
Brandi A. Tomko only made a quick appearance in Summit County Commons Pleas Court. According to NewsChannel 5 investigator Sarah Buduson, Tomko wore the standard black and white striped jail uniform as her attorney asked for a reduction in bail. The judge denied the request and Tomko appeared defeated and held her head down as she left the courtroom.
Outside the courthouse, a small crowd of protesters had gathered chanting for tougher laws against animal cruelty but were not allowed inside the courthouse.
Tomko also faces several drug charges, including eight counts of drug possession. While those charges are serious and land Tomko in prison, the lead detective on the case told us Monday he's received at least 20 more complaints about Tomko since our report first aired.
Akron police said Tomko treated pets at C&D Animal Hospital on 1474 Brittain Road, even though she had no formal veterinary training.
They said Tomko drew blood, wrote prescriptions for animals and performed surgeries, including spaying cats and neutering at least one dog. One cat was put down after Tomko attempted to de-claw the animal, according to Akron Police Detective Steve Null.
Kenny Reymann told NewsChannel5 Tomko is responsible for his dog's death. Reymann took Charlie to Tomko to C&D in April 2011. Reymann said "Charlie" spent three nights at the hospital and died the morning after he picked him up.
"Brandi Tomko is a monster," said Reymann. "She needs to be stopped and I hope she goes to jail for a long time."
Reymann said he had no reason to believe Brandi was not a veterinarian.
"Brandi was always there. And after all the years of seeing her there., I had no reason to believe she wasn't certified in some sort of veterinary technician or something. I was deceived and a lot of people were deceived," he said.
Reymann and two other people complained to the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board. The board sent the complaints to Summit County law enforcement officials.
Null said Tomko was an office worker at C&D Animal Hospital for approximately two years before the hospital's owner left and put her in charge of the facility. Null said Tomko began treating pets and taking cash from owners so she could buy heroin.
Court records show Tomko has faced criminal charges in Summit, Portage and Medina counties. She pleaded no contest to possession of heroin in Medina County in 2003.
Tomko's remains in jail. Her next court appearance is April 30.