A former Akron pet clinic worker was sentenced Friday to 18 months in prison for performing veterinarian work.
Brandi Tomko, 36, apologized in Summit County Common Pleas Court but told Judge Paul Gallagher that she was not the horrible person described by prosecutors and pet owners.
Gallagher in turn sentenced Tomko to prison. The judge heard the case without a jury and found Tomko guilty of identity fraud, forgery, theft, animal cruelty and practicing without a license.
Tomko intends to appeal her conviction. Her defense attorney, John Greven, said he believes changes in Ohio law precluded a prison term for Tomko.
“We were hoping for [probation] but it wasn’t meant to be,” Greven said.
Tomko was immediately handcuffed and sent to the county jail to await a transfer to a state prison.
During the sentencing hearing, pet owners Robert McGee and Kenny Reymann of Akron read prepared statements, urging prison time for Tomko, who treated their pets.
“I’ve waited for this day for a long time and I know that telling my story and have you put away isn’t going to change anything, I won’t get my dog back,” Reymann wrote in his statement. “But I know if you’re locked up, you can’t hurt anybody’s pets and you won’t be scamming anybody.”
Reymann’s dog, named Charlie, died of kidney dysfunction in April 2011, only days after Tomko had treated the animal, he said.
McGee told the judge that he lived in fear and suffered nightmares after his service dog, Allie, died 10 months after McGee’s first visit to the C&D Animal Hospital where Tomko once worked.
“My life as I knew it was over when I lost my service dog, Allie,” he said in his statement. “Do I think you should get any easy sentence? Not at all.”
Tomko was initially charged in a 40-count indictment in connection with her work at Akron’s C&D Animal Hospital on Brittain Road from March to June 2011. She is not a licensed veterinarian or a licensed vet tech and was prohibited under Ohio law from performing any vet services without a license in those fields, a state official testified this week.
Tomko, who lives in Medina County, also pleaded guilty in an unrelated case to one felony count of drug possession and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug instruments.