A Medina County woman accused of animal cruelty and posing as a veterinarian is facing her most serious charge in connection with causing the 2011 death of a Persian Gulf war veteran’s service dog.
In a supplemental indictment a Summit County grand jury returned last week, Brandi Ann Tomko is charged with assaulting or harassing the assistance dog belonging to Bob McGee of Akron, resulting in its death last October.
That charge is a third-degree felony, the most serious in what has become a 39-count indictment, and carries a maximum prison sentence of three years in prison.
Tomko, 35, who was released from the county jail April 20 after posting a $10,000 bond, also was charged in the latest indictment with one count of felony theft and four misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.
April Wiesner, chief spokesperson for the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office, said the charges in the supplemental indictment arose from formal complaints local pet owners filed after widespread media coverage of Tomko’s court appearance April 10.
Akron police detectives investigated those complaints, and their investigation led to the new charges being presented to a grand jury.
Tomko had been charged with 33 crimes related to multiple drug offenses, injuring animals, animal cruelty, theft and practicing veterinary medicine without a license.
Authorities said Tomko, who had no formal veterinary training, treated pets at the former C&D Animal Hospital on Brittain Road. They said she used the money she collected to support a drug habit.
McGee, a disabled Navy medic who served in the gulf war in the early 1990s, had an 8-year-old Samoyed named Allie that was trained to pull groceries from low shelves, open doors and retrieve things he dropped.
When Allie became ill with bladder problems in January 2011, McGee said, he took her to the clinic where Tomko worked. He said she prescribed treatment with insulin and that he gave the prescription to Allie through the summer.
After a succession of seizures that would not abate, and despite assurances from Tomko that Allie was simply adjusting to the medication, the dog died, McGee said.
He said Wednesday he was “ecstatic” Tomko finally has been charged in connection with Allie’s death.
“This is going to be more than just a slap on the wrist than the misdemeanors she’s facing. Now it’s going to be a felony,” he said.
But the filing of charges does not make Allie’s loss any easier, he said.
“Right now, I’m without a service dog, and I really miss her. I have some [post-traumatic stress disorder] issues going on,” McGee said, “and I don’t have my dog with me to help me get through them. It’s hard.”
He said he hopes the new charges will result in Tomko “going away for a few years.”
Tomko’s next scheduled court appearance is Monday, the county prosecutor’s office said.
Beacon Journal staff writer Kathy Antoniotti contributed to this report. Ed Meyer can be contacted at 330-996-3784 or at email@example.com.