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The New Jersey vet tech accused of taking home a sick dog that was supposed to have been euthanized and keeping him alive for five months without the owner’s knowledge has been charged with animal cruelty.
Last May, Keri Levy took her 15-year old Miniature Pinscher, Caesar to Briarwood Veterinary Hospital for a second opinion after being told he was suffering from an endocrine disorder called Cushing’s disease.
Veterinarian Dr. George Menez recommended Caesar be euthanized and Levy said goodbye to her senior dog. Hours after paying for the procedure to put Caesar to sleep, Dr. Menez phoned Levy to offer condolences and assure her that he was “at peace.”
Then, last week, 5 months after saying goodbye to her dog, Levy received an anonymous message that Caesar was still alive and was being cared for by an employee of the veterinary hospital.
Levy immediately confronted employees at the Briarwood Veterinary Hospital, which had since changed to new management. Menez and the vet tech that reportedly had Caesar no longer worked there.
After contacting Howell Police for help, Dr. Menez admitted to allowing Andrea Oliveira, a 45-year old veterinary technician at Briarwood to take Caesar home, without his owner’s knowledge or consent, while continuing to allow Levy to believe her pet was euthanized.
Ross Licitra, chief of the Monmouth County SPCA, said Oliveira acted out of compassion for the dog, believing that she could nurse him back to health. But the SPCA lodged an animal cruelty charge against her after she failed to prove that the dog had received veterinarian care during the five months she had him.
Caesar was briefly reunited with his rightful owner who claimed his health had deteriorated drastically since the last time she saw him, but police said the dog was in good spirits and didn’t appear to have been neglected.
Levy was reimbursed for the clinic charges and, under the supervision of another veterinarian, Caesar was finally euthanized on Monday.
No charges were filed against Dr. Menez. Andrea Oliveira was charged with animal cruelty and issued a summons to appear in municipal court. No court date has been set.