President of Local Animal Rescue Charged with Animal Cruelty, Illegal Drugs by DNR Police - Southern Maryland Headline News

President of Local Animal Rescue Charged with Animal Cruelty, Illegal Drugs by DNR Police

State says some animals Wexler tried to help should have been euthanized due to the extent of their injuries


Ronald Gene Wexler, 68, of Lusby, runs the Orphaned Wildlife Rescue Center, Inc. out of home. The state arrested him Tuesday, saying he was posing as a veterinarian and had controlled drugs for which he had no license or prescription. His website claims his organization has rescued over 20,000 animals since being founded in 1990. (Photo: Orphaned Wildlife Rescue Center website)
ANNAPOLIS (June 9, 2016)—A Calvert County man was arrested Tuesday night and charged with animal cruelty and practicing veterinary medicine without a license in connection with his animal rehabilitation center.

Ronald Gene Wexler, 68, of Lusby, is scheduled to appear at an Aug. 8 court hearing on 16 criminal counts filed after a year-long investigation of his facility, Orphaned Wildlife Rescue Center, Inc.

Acting on a tip, Maryland Natural Resources Police officers, state wildlife veterinarians and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service searched his center last August and found animals that should have been euthanized due to the extent of their injuries, animals on which Wexler had performed surgery and an osprey held in a cage much too small, which led to muscle atrophy.

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 refers to himself as a veterinarian on his website. He does not have a veterinary license. He is also identified as the animal rescue's president.

According to the website, the center has rescued over 20,000 animals since being founded in 1990. The center, located on Wexler's three-acre home in Calvert County, says it rescues all animals—from mice to deer to porpoises and operates under a strict 'no-kill' policy.

This year, charging documents say, he performed surgery on ospreys and a black rat snake and acknowledged operating on other animals, as well. Wexler told officers it was not cost effective to send every animal he admitted to his center to an independent veterinarian.

Each of the 12 drug charges carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a fine of $25,000. Each animal cruelty charge carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Practicing veterinary medicine without a license has a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine.

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