MARKHAM (CBS) – A south suburban veterinarian targeted in a sting operation failed to report suspected dogfighting and lied about administering rabies vaccines, authorities announced Friday.

Dr. Gary Friederich, 64, of the 13100 block of South 80th Court in Palos Park was arrested Thursday at his home, the Cook County Sheriff’s office said in a news release. He is charged with six counts of violating the standards of the Illinois Veterinary Medicine and Surgery Practice Act.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation suspended his veterinary license Nov. 23, and he surrendered his license to distribute controlled substances to the federal government. He was scheduled for a hearing before the IDFPR on Dec. 21.

The sheriff’s Animal Crimes Unit began its investigation in September after receiving complaints about Friederich’s Park Forest Animal Clinic at 2348 Western Ave., ranging from poor vet care to failure to report dogfighting.

The Animal Welfare League and South Suburban Humane Society assisted with information and follow-up services for dogs involved, according to the release.

On multiple visits to Dr. Friederich, undercover investigators presented dogs which were in need of care, including rabies vaccines and treatment of injuries consistent with dogfighting.  Follow-up tests showed while Dr. Friederich charged a fee and provided a certificate of vaccination, no vaccines were present in any of the dogs’ systems, the release said.

When Friederich learned a dog which was injured in a fight was coming into his clinic, he instructed the officer to enter the rear of the building so no one would see the dog or the extent of its injuries, the release said.

In a room at the clinic, the officer then discussed the fight in detail with Dr. Friederich, who assured the officer he would treat the dog for several days and return it to a condition so it could again be used in dogfights, the release said. 

When the officer returned for the dog and asked for a rabies vaccine, Dr. Friederich handed the officer a certificate, winked and asked for $55 for the “vaccination” and $145 for the stay, according to the release.

A follow-up check by another vet showed no sign of the vaccine and also showed that during those days, the dog contracted kennel cough and was infested with fleas. On a follow-up visit, the officer told Friederich he needed painkillers for his pit bull and other narcotics for another dog. Dr. Friederich provided the medications without seeing either dog, the release said.

The investigation found records showing Friederich claimed to provide vaccinations to other dogs, but investigators tested those dogs and found no trace of the vaccine.

Friederich remains free until his next court hearing, set for Jan. 31 in Markham.

Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire

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