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'The stories were terrible': Granger vet accused of animal abuse

Annie, a mastiff described in the documents// Photo provided

When you put your pets in the care of professionals there's a level of unspoken trust.

Some people in Granger say that trust is now broken after hearing allegations of animal abuse against a local vet.

The Indiana Attorney General has filed a complaint with the State Board of Veterinary medical examiners.

The attorney general's office accuses Dr. Jennifer Perusek of abuse. She works at the Animal Clinic of Granger.

Many clients say they feel like they failed their animals.

A 16 page court document alleges abuse by Dr. Jennifer Perusek.

Laura Christensen sends her dog Cooper there. She says when she saw his name on the documents it brought her to tears.

"Cooper had been given three bark collars and that they had been put on so tightly and he had been choking and having coughing because they had been put on so tightly around his neck,” said Christensen.

Cooper is just one of several animals listed in the documents. The claims of abuse range from dragging and hitting the animals, to sedating them without the owner's consent.

Stefanie Barnett says she was heartbroken to see her dogs' names on the documents. It alleges they had been burned by shock collars. She's sent them to the clinic for the past 14 years.

"My German Shepherd that's not here anymore, I just wish I could hug him and tell him I’m sorry for letting him go somewhere for so many years that, I mean, the allegations that he was definitely hurt and tortured once and awhile for no reason,” Barnett said.

Annie, a mastiff, was number 27 on the documents. Her owner, Diana Hatch, says Annie, was normally sweet and happy but that she started acting aggressively towards humans, and that now it makes sense to her.

"Annie specifically was kicked and kneed and Annie was less than a year old at the time. The stories were terrible,” said Diana Hatch.

The allegations make the pet owners fear for the future of their four-legged friends.

"You're thinking 'Okay, I trust this person and this person is going to take care of my dog,' and to know that that wasn't happening and that I didn't know anything about it. It's heartbreaking,” said Christensen.

Dr. Perusek's lawyer released a statement saying:

"Dr. Jennifer Perusek vehemently denies the claims that her former employees have made against her. She has been committed to loving and caring for animals her whole life, and she continues to build a veterinary practice where animals are treated with respect and given the highest possible level of care. Her accreditation by the American Animal Hospital Association speaks volumes for the high standards she has set at the Clinic, and she is grateful for those who have continued to stand by her throughout this difficult situation."

Any potential criminal charges would be filed by the St. Joseph County prosecutor.

You can read through the documents here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B96kuy7qVr9aR0NfZzJ5VEgzMm8/view

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