A veterinarian at the Boston Street Animal Hospital has been charged with several counts of animal cruelty, Baltimore police reported.
On Nov. 20, police detectives responded to complaints of abuse by Gregory Burbelo while he was working at the animal hospital, in the 2400 block of Boston Street. The 57-year old Burbelo was arrested Dec. 12 and charged with animal cruelty, aggravated animal cruelty and witness intimidation.
Burbelo’s attorney, Gary H. Gerstenfield, called Burbelo a tremendously gifted vet and giving person who became frustrated by health problems that diminished his ability to work the long hours he scheduled for himself. The stressful situation combined with a pressure-filled profession made him “very short tempered. He just snapped a little.”
Gerstenfield added that none of the animals was hurt or required medical attention. Still, he said, many of Burbelo’s clients will be shocked by the charges.
Gerstenfield said he met Burbelo 30 years ago when he successfully operated on his cat that was diagnosed with cancer and said he was stunned. Burbelo, he said, had wanted to retire before the alleged incidents and now will step away from practicing.
“I can’t convey in words what an amazing vet Greg is,” Gerstenfield said. “I feel his pain. Your health is declining and your body can’t live up to what you expect of it. I don’t think anyone around him realized. ...This is a case we’re going to work out.”
Police said there were at least three instances of abuse. During the first instance in early November, Burbelo used his hands to attack a dog at the hospital. The same day, he used a clipboard to attack another dog. In late October, police said he attacked a third dog while the animal was under his care at the hospital.
Burbelo no longer works at the facility.
Police also say they believe Burbelo threatened several employees if they reported the attacks.