Calvert County Man Prohibited from Working in Wildlife Rehabilitation
Judge Upholds Department’s Decision on “Doc” Wexler
An administrative law judge has 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 action, also was prohibited from ever working in wildlife rehabilitation.
Judge Tameika Lunn-Exinor said department officials and Maryland Natural Resources Police investigators presented “credible evidence” that Wexler’s conduct “was a violation of both state and federal wildlife laws and regulations.”
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 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 referred to himself as a veterinarian on his web site however he does not have a veterinary license.
Based on the totality of evidence and Wexler’s conviction, the decision by the department to revoke his rehabilitation permit was “reasonable,” Judge Lunn-Exinor determined.