Misdemeanor Charges Filed Against Prominent Animal Activist

VAN NUYS (CNS) - A prominent animal activist is facing three misdemeanor counts, including practicing veterinary medicine without a license, filed by the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office.

Marc Teruo Ching, 41, is also charged with false advertising and unlawfully engaging in the business of processing, packing and preparing “fresh and frozen horsemeat or any other meat product'' for use as pet food without holding a valid license, according to the criminal complaint.

Ching could face up to 18 months in county jail and a maximum $4,500 fine if convicted as charged, a spokesman for the City Attorney's Office told the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the charges.

Ching is set to be arraigned Dec. 2 at the Van Nuys courthouse.

“We're prosecuting because practicing veterinary medicine without a license, as we allege here, is illegal for good reason. It can take advantage of pet owners and place animals at risk,'' Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement. “That's true irrespective of whether the defendant holds himself out as a hero of the animal rights movement.''

The charges were filed following an investigation by the Los Angeles Times that detailed veterinarians' complaints dating back as far as seven years that Ching persuaded pet owners to give their animals items that he sells at his business, the Petstaurant, which operates stores in Sherman Oaks and on the Westside, instead of using prescribed treatment regimens for health conditions including cancer, heart failure and kidney disease.

The newspaper reported that the investigation also raised questions about the overseas rescue efforts of Ching, who founded the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation.

On the organization's website, Ching wrote that the Los Angeles Times article “relies heavily on misinformation sourced from our former executive director,'' and that the foundation had filed a lawsuit against her.

The organization's board of directors said on the website that “we proudly and confidently stand behind Marc Ching and continue our unwavering support of him,'' adding that an independent review by the organization deemed him “qualified and worthy to continue his work with the foundation.''

Photo: Getty Images

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