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Statement Related to the Public Hearing of Dr. Mahavir Rekhi

September 16, 2016

The College of Veterinarians of Ontario, which regulates the practice of veterinary medicine in the province, has received comments from the public regarding information in the media related to recent discipline proceedings involving Dr. Mahavir Rekhi. The College understands the public’s sentiments with respect to the disturbing and upsetting images that were captured on video. The abuse of animals is clearly unacceptable, and is particularly offensive from those whom the public trusts to demonstrate care and compassion, and provide health care to their animals.

The College is unequivocal in its position that animal abuse and neglect is unacceptable and the College took immediate action when the conduct of Dr. Rekhi was brought to its attention. The College commends the efforts of those who brought their concerns to the College’s attention which resulted in the investigation and public hearing where a discipline panel, which consisted of representation from both veterinarians and the public, made findings of professional misconduct against Dr. Rekhi. The findings of the discipline hearing are public and part of Dr. Rekhi’s permanent record with the College, which is available on the College’s website.

After pleading guilty to professional misconduct, Dr. Rekhi received a 10 month suspension and is required to successfully complete remediation activities which include mentorship sessions, certification in an animal restraint and behaviour modification program, an educational seminar and shadowing another veterinarian.  Successful completion of the comprehensive remediation program may enable Dr. Rekhi to return to practice after serving six months of the suspension. Dr. Rekhi’s practice will be closely monitored to prevent any unacceptable conduct in the future, including being subject to unannounced inspections at his cost. As well, Dr. Rekhi was required to pay costs to the College of $10,000 as partial reimbursement for the costs incurred in the investigation and prosecution. The Discipline Committee considers many factors when deciding on a proper sanction, including previous cases decided in the courts, and is committed to ensuring that veterinarians in Ontario conduct themselves appropriately.

The College takes its public protection role in regulating the practice of veterinary medicine very seriously. The College sets standards of practice and expects veterinarians to meet them. Veterinarians in Ontario are committed to providing safe, quality animal care.