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Investigator: Vet board investigates animal clinic

6:35 PM, Jun 14, 2011   |    comments
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LORAIN -- The Ohio Vet Board says it is opening a formal investigation following a Channel 3 News story on the Animal House in Lorain.

Tom Meyer, the Investigator, has also learned the board is asking the city prosecutor to review the clinic's license.

Former employees of the Animal House in Lorain have accused an 18 year old co-worker of castrating a dog he later tried to sell to an undercover Channel 3 News producer.

"Giving him anesthesia is one thing, but actually doing the surgery yourself when you have no skills whatsoever and knowing what you're doing, I was worried for the dog," says Kala Mertes, a former employee.

Mertes says she shot video of an 18 year old co-worker neutering a dog he had rescued and then sewing it up when the procedure was done.  She says the procedure was performed while licensed veternarian James Dittoe was in the room. It appears in the video that the teenager is making an incision and then suturing the dog.

Dittoe denies allegations that the teenager was allowed to do the surgery, but said he did permit him to do some suturing.

"This is definitely an isolated case," says Mike Luli, the clinic's owner.

Gregory Willis investigates animal cruelty in Lorain County.  He says the video calls into question how the clinic cares for all its animals.

"That's a terrible violation of the trust of the public that comes in there," Willis said.

The teenager in question is not a licensed veternarian or a licensed vet tech or even a vet student.

"I've seen him given shots to patients whether it be bordatella, rabies, parvo. I've seen him finish sewing up one of the dogs in there for rescue after it had a spay," said Joey Dale, a former employee.

Luli described Dale as a disgruntled ex-employee who was fired for neglecting animals.  But Dale says he left the clinic because of the way animals were being treated.

The exectuive director of the Ohio Veterinary Board says the board plans to investigate.     

WKYC-TV

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