Fort Worth man accused of treating pets without license

Posted Tuesday, Sep. 24, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Do you have information? If you have information on the case, please call Detective J.G. Kalbfleisch at 817-392-4828.

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Flo Jo and Midnight aren’t simply pets to Gay Penny, they’re her babies.

The 53-year-old woman doesn’t feed the dogs a morsel of food without reading the ingredients first.

They sleep in her bed at night.

She has framed pictures of them on the walls of her east Fort Worth home.

Thus, Penny said she was outraged to learn from Fort Worth police that the “veterinarian” to whom she had recently paid $60 to remove two toenails from Flo Jo’s front paws isn’t a vet at all.

“I bawled. I told Flo Jo, ‘Mama is very sorry,’ ” Penny said “Sometimes I look at her and I’ll just cry. I just want her to know I love her, and I would never put her in a situation to hurt her.”

Jeremy Bradbury describes himself as an “animal nurse” with 17 years’ experience and says he never claimed to be a licensed vet.

But Fort Worth police say the Fort Worth man practiced veterinary medicine without a license — including removing Flo Jo’s toenails but also vaccinating five dogs owned by Gay’s friend and pet groomer, Dee Brooks.

Bradbury was arrested Sept. 18 on two warrants for unauthorized practice of veterinary medicine, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. He was formally charged the next day in both cases, court records shows, and remains free on $1,500 bond.

Reached by telephone Tuesday afternoon, Bradbury called the charges against him “bogus.”

“I’m an animal nurse. I’m not a vet. I’m a licensed dog trainer,” said Bradbury, 36. “I’ve been working with animals for years and years. I have probably hundreds of references.

“I’ve never harmed one in my care. The way they went about arresting me and the accusations and everything else is absolutely horrible.”

House visits

Investigators said they don’t know how many pets Bradbury might have improperly treated.

Brooks said she was introduced to Bradbury about a month and a half ago via a mutual friend who also had believed that the man was a vet.

Bradbury wore scrubs, carried a black medical bag containing a stethoscope and other medical equipment, and told Brooks that he worked at a clinic but also had an office at home.

In exchange for her using his services for her own pets, Bradbury offered to refer clients to her grooming business, Brooks said.

Bradbury said he never identified himself as a vet.

“People have introduced me before, saying, ‘This is Jeremy. He’s my vet,’ ” Bradbury said. “I tell everyone I’m not a vet. I don’t do what vets do. I don’t work in an office, but I take care of animals and I try to help people out.”

Brooks said Bradbury visited her home several times. When her cat, Pumpkin, suffered a displaced hip, he popped it back into place, she said. She paid him $120 to vaccinate her five dogs, watching as he pulled the vaccines from their vials and injected each one.

“They were from Fort Dodge, which is a very well-known dog vaccination brand,” Brooks said.

His technique and animal knowledge appeared to be legitimate, Brooks said. The only thing she found suspicious, only later, was that he kept suggesting new services.

“He was trying to find ways to make money basically — just trying to offer additional services like cutting my dogs’ toenails. I’m a groomer,” Brooks said.

Bradbury said the vaccinations he gave can be purchased at feed stores.

Penny met Bradbury when she took Flo Jo, a chihuahua/dachshund mix, to Brooks’ home for a grooming.

“We were talking about Flo because she had nails that grew under and went into her pad,” Penny said. “We just had to keep cutting it back, cutting it back, and she would try to bite us because it was sore.”

Bradbury offered to surgically remove the troublesome nails for $60. He took the dog overnight, telling Penny that he would perform the surgery at 10:30 p.m. at his clinic and even offering to let her watch, although she declined.

He returned the dog to Penny the next day, saying that, after studying Flo Jo’s X-rays, he ended up removing one nail from each foot.

He showed her pictures of the X-rays on his phone, even pointing out a shoulder injury that he said he could surgically repair for $100.

Now, Penny doubts that the X-rays even belonged to Flo Jo.

Penny said Bradbury also gave her medication for Flo Jo’s severe asthma.

Though she never gave it to the dog, she did turn it over to the detective who, she said, informed her that it appeared to be saline solution.

Bradbury acknowledged removing Flo Jo’s nails but said that it “wasn’t a surgical procedure” and that the dog never went under anesthesia. He said he only deadened the skin around the nails before their removal to prevent the dog pain.

“I didn’t use anything that I’m not supposed to use,” he said.

A missing wallet

Bradbury’s undoing, according to an arrest warrant affidavit, came after Penny reported to police that she believed the vet had stolen her wallet during a follow-up visit to her home.

Penny said she noticed that her wallet was missing from her purse 10 minutes after Bradbury left.

Less than an hour later, someone used her debit card at a Fort Worth convenience store.

Penny said she confronted Bradbury over the phone. She said he never denied it and later texted her that he had returned the wallet, leaving it on her car outside her home.

Items missing, she said, included her driver’s license and Social Security card.

Bradbury denies that he stole the wallet, though he acknowledged that he returned it to Penny. He declined to identify who took the wallet.

Bradbury was ticketed for theft under $50, a Class C misdemeanor.

Assigned the theft investigation, Detective J.G. Kalbfleisch contacted the Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiner’s Licensing Office and learned that Bradbury does not hold, nor has ever held, a veterinary license.

“I was incredibly mad because, I mean, these are my kids,” Brooks said. “That would be like taking someone’s kid to a person who claims to be a doctor and they’re not.”

Both Penny and Brooks now warn others to always check the credentials of those caring for their pets or loved ones.

“I let someone take something very precious to me and do surgery on her and now, I don’t know what he did. Whether he put her under. Whether he tied her down. What he actually did to get her to let him do that,” Penny said. “It’s horrible.”

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655 Twitter: @deannaboyd

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