AKRON, Ohio - A 35-year-old convicted heroin addict is accused of pretending to be a veterinarian at a Summit County animal hospital.
Brandi A. Tomko was arraigned on a 33 criminal count indictment in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas in Akron Tuesday morning.
The 17 felony and 16 misdemeanor charges include several drug charges, including eight counts of possession of a dangerous drug, five counts of injuring animals, five counts of cruelty to animals, identity fraud and practicing without a license.
[WEB EXTRA: Read the secret indictment filed against Tomko]
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 declaw 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 "Charlie" spent three nights at the hospital and died the morning after her 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," he said.
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 pleaded not guilty Tuesday.
She is being held on $10,000 bond in Summit County jail.
Tomko's next court hearing is scheduled for April 9 at 9 a.m. in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas.