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Bridgeport vet charged with animal cruelty

Tara O'NeillMay 3, 2019

BRIDGEPORT — A city veterinarian has been charged with animal cruelty after he performed an “unnecessary” surgery on a dog brought to the facility he works at just for the fee, according to police.

Amr Wasfi, 74, of Derby, was charged with animal cruelty and third-degree larceny by Bridgeport police on Wednesday.

The affidavit for Wasfi, a vet at Black Rock Animal Hospital, said the investigation into him began back in December after another employee at the animal hospital reported his alleged behavior to police.

The employee had walked into the operating room — where Wasfi was performing a spay on a 4-month-old kitten that was under anesthesia and restrained — to let the doctor know she was leaving for the day.

The employee later told police she said Wasfi was “in an agitated state” and saw him “raise his hand and strike the kitten.”

She showed up to work the next day to resign, the affidavit said, but was met at the door by another employee, holding a box of her belongings and told she was not allowed in the building because she had been fired by Wasfi.

Police received other complaints about Wasfi.

On Feb. 14, a man brought his dog — Monster — to Black Rock Animal Hospital because of a limp. He was sent home with a diagnosis of a sprain and some pain medication. A week later when he was still limping, the man brought Monster back to Wasfi.

On March 2, the man was shown an X-ray taken by Wasfi, that showed what Wasfi said was a “fracture of the right pelvis” that needed to be operated on. He told the man he would be able to take Monster home on March 7.

But on March 7, the man was told Monster would need to be kept for a few more days. Each time the man showed up at the animal hospital to see his dog, he was refused access. The man called police on March 25 to get his dog back.

Monster weighed 63.4 pounds when his owner brought him to the animal hospital on Feb. 14. When the man got Monster back, he weighed 46.4 pounds, the affidavit said. Monster’s owner paid $3,330 for the surgical procedure.

The man brought Monster to another emergency vet in North Haven to be checked out.

Vet experts at the North Haven facility told the man, and later police when questioned about Monster, that the procedure was unnecessary and that Monster never had a fracture. A screw Wasfi put into Monster’s leg, the affidavit said, was nowhere near where Wasfi claimed the pelvis fracture was.

The vets who treated Monster in North Haven told police that once Monster was opened up on the operating table by Wasfi, he “should have, and would have, seen no such fracture and closed the incision. But instead, Dr. Wasfi went forward with the procedure.”

According to the affidavit, the detective said Wasfi mislead Monster’s owner and “fraudulently claimed a fracture of the pelvis area in order to enter into a contract to perform a surgical procedure for monetary gain.”

A judge signed the arrest affidavit for the charges against Wasfi on April 29. He was released from custody on a $10,000 bond. He’s expected to be arraigned in court May 8.

The Bridgeport Police Department’s animal control unit used to send animals for treatment at the Black Rock Animal Hospital. Police officials said that though the department used to have a good relationship with the vet, that ended a few years ago. The city shelter no longer used the facility to treat animals.

The Black Rock Animal Hospital website shows that Wasfi established the facility in November 1977. On the website, Wasfi is listed as the only doctor at the facility.

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