Judge up­holds res­cue di­rec­tor’s con­vic­tion

Lusby’s Wexler still pro­hib­ited from work­ing in wildlife re­hab

The Calvert Recorder - - Front Page - MEGHAN CADY

An ad­min­is­tra­tive law judge up­held a de­ci­sion of Mary­land De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources of­fi­cials to re­voke the wildlife re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion per­mit of a Calvert County man who was con­victed of prac­tic­ing vet­eri­nary medicine with­out a li­cense.

Ronald Gene Wexler, 69, of Lusby, who had ap­pealed the Novem­ber 2016 ac­tion, also was pro­hib­ited from ever work­ing in wildlife re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease from DNR.

Judge Tameika Lunn-Ex­i­nor said de­part­ment of­fi­cials and Mary­land Nat­u­ral Re-

sources Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tors pre­sented “cred­i­ble ev­i­dence” that Wexler’s con­duct “was a vi­o­la­tion of both state and fed­eral wildlife laws and reg­u­la­tions,” the re­lease cites.

Last Oc­to­ber, Wexler was found guilty in Calvert County Dis­trict Court of two counts of il­le­gal drug pos­ses­sion and one count of prac­tic­ing vet­eri­nary medicine with­out a li­cense. He re­ceived a six-month jail sen­tence, sus­pended, for the pos­ses­sion of con­trolled dan­ger­ous sub­stances. Wexler was

fined $500 for prac­tic­ing with­out a li­cense and re­ceived three years of un­su­per­vised pro­ba­tion. The re­main­ing 13 counts were placed on the stet — or in­ac­tive — docket, mean­ing that if Wexler suc­cess­fully ful­fills his sen­tence, the state may drop the charges.

Wexler was ar­rested in June 2016 by Nat­u­ral Re­sources Po­lice af­ter a year­long in­ves­ti­ga­tion of his fa­cil­ity, Or­phaned Wildlife Res­cue Cen­ter Inc. Act­ing on a tip, of­fi­cers, state wildlife vet­eri­nar­i­ans and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice searched his cen­ter in Au­gust 2015 and found wild an­i­mals roam­ing freely and defe­cat­ing in the liv­ing quar­ters, an­i­mals that should have been eu­th­a­nized due to the ex­tent of their inju- ries, an­i­mals on which Wexler had per­formed surgery and an osprey held in a cage much too small, which led to mus­cle at­ro­phy, the re­lease states.

The search also found a host of drugs, in­clud­ing Oxy­codone, De­merol, Pen­to­bar­bi­tal and fen­tanyl. Wexler did not have any li­censes or pre­scrip­tions for the drugs, which are de­fined by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment as drugs with a high po­ten­tial for abuse. Wexler goes by the nick­name “Doc,” and re­ferred to him­self as a vet­eri­nar­ian on his web­site, though he does not have a vet­eri­nary li­cense, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease.

Based on the to­tal­ity of ev­i­dence and Wexler’s con­vic­tion, the re­lease states, the de­ci­sion by the de­part­ment to re­voke his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion per­mit was “rea­son­able,” Lunn-Ex­i­nor de­ter­mined.

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