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Indiana veterinarian accused of ‘kicking, hitting, choking’ animals for years

Animal Clinic of Granger, photo courtesy of The South Bend Tribune

GRANGER, Ind. – A veterinarian in northern Indiana is accused of abusing animals, the South Bend Tribune reports.

According to a complaint filed by the office of Attorney General Curtis Hill, Granger veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Perusek abused animals in her care at the Animal Clinic of Granger from 2012 to 2016.

The complaint alleges Perusek routinely engaged in a pattern of kicking, hitting, slamming, dragging and choking animals from 2012 to 2016. It also alleges Perusek sedated dogs without their owners’ permission, used shock bark collars on dogs that gave the animals burns and wounds, and reused needles and syringes to save money.

Perusek’s lawyer, John Kuehn, released a statement saying his client vehemently denies the claims. The statement said Perusek treats animals with respect and gives them the highest possible level of care.

Resident Melissa Scheetz said her dog has never shown signs of abuse after visiting the clinic.

“If she was abusive toward my Boston terrier, why would he run to her, jump on her and play with her? No, dogs are smart animals,” Scheetz said. “To me she is such, such a wonderful vet.”

Laura Christensen sends her dog Cooper to the clinic and had a different experience. She said Cooper had three bark collars put so tightly around his neck that the dog began choking and coughing.

“You’re thinking ‘OK, I trust this person and this person is going to take care of my dog.’ And to know that that wasn’t happening and that I didn’t know anything about it, it’s heartbreaking,” Christensen said.

The civil complaint is against Perusek’s veterinary license. Hill has recommended that the state veterinary board discipline Perusek. The board could revoke or suspend her license, put her on probation or fine her up to $1,000 for each violation.

St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter has requested more information from Hill to determine if criminal charges should be pursued.