ANTIGO (WAOW) - A former Antigo veterinarian was sentenced to 45 days in jail Wednesday after pleading no contest to charges accusing him of stealing morphine intended for animal use and watering down the remaining drugs to cover up the theft, according to online court records.
In a plea deal, Benjamin Blandin, 28, of Franklin was convicted of felony possession of narcotic drugs without a prescription and three misdemeanors, including mistreating animals, court records said.
His sentence for the felony involves an agreement with prosecutors in which the conviction will be dismissed if he successfully completes what in essence is three years of probation, court records said.
The judge also placed Blandin on two years probation for the misdemeanor convictions and ordered the jail term for the mistreating animals conviction, court records said.
The veterinarian told his employer, Antigo Vet Clinic, that his "drug issues" went back to using Vicodin as a college football player, a criminal complaint said.
According to the complaint, a co-worker discovered Blandin taking drugs from the clinic's primary drug supply box March 1, 2013.
Three days later, Blandin told the clinic's owner that he had been stealing morphine, hydromorphone and hydrocodone for a "bit over a month" and added water back to the bottles, diluting the drugs that were administered to animals, the complaint said.
Blandin told Dr. Sarah Lautzenhiser that he stole the drugs daily, the complaint said.
According to the complaint, Lautzenhiser told investigators the diluted drugs may have affected some animal surgeries, including one where her own cat suffered an "anesthesia crisis" and needed to be revived, the complaint said.
Blandin was fired from the clinic in April 2013.
The maximum punishment for the felony drug conviction if Blandin fails to complete the terms of the agreement is up to three years in prison.