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Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011

County: Ramsey

Disposition: Alleged

Alleged: Eric Howard Weisman

A former Little Canada chiropractor practiced medicine on animals and offered people medical treatment without a license, according to the city attorney's office.

Prosecutors said Eric Howard Weisman, 59, will likely be charged today with a total of 58 counts, including 38 gross misdemeanor counts of practicing veterinary medicine and general medicine without a license and 20 lesser counts of criminal contempt of court, animal cruelty and violating a city ordinance.

Weisman, who lost his chiropractor's license in 1998, runs Evolution Diet Pet Food out of a downtown St. Paul office and hosts a public access cable program called "Health Now." An investigator said Weisman holds no medical license of any kind.

In a written statement, Weisman said he is "being attacked because I try to help make a better, more just society. I try to help those that do not have help or are not getting good assistance."

Weisman said he is in the business of selling supplements and pet food but not treatments.

"I also inform people who contact me that I am not offering a cure, treatment, diagnosis or prevention for any disease," he wrote. "I explain to people that ask me for information that I am not telling them what to do. I tell them that these are things I would do."

On his website, Weisman says his "evolution diet pet food" can help dogs and cats live up to 30 percent longer.

Yet, investigators said that when they searched his home in Little Canada and the warehouse in St. Paul where he operates his pet food business, they found unsanitary conditions.

"The bulk packaging was ripped open by rodents," Salter said. "(There were) rodent droppings.

The case against Weisman stems from a Jan. 24 complaint made by the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine to the Ramsey County sheriff's office. The board said Weisman was practicing veterinary medicine without a license out of his home. The practice violated a 2003 injunction that barred Weisman from practicing veterinary medicine and also from making claims about his pet food and health supplements, according to a criminal complaint drafted by prosecutors.

Included in the board's complaint were records of a cat necropsy - an animal autopsy - performed by a veterinarian at the University of Minnesota's veterinary hospital in 2010. Weisman brought in a cat he suspected had kidney failure and cancerous lesions, the complaint said.

According to the U's veterinarian, the cat had neither - it died of pneumonia, was unable to absorb nutrients from the food it ate and had broken bones in each of its front legs. The suspected cancerous lesions, the veterinarian said, were actually scabs caused by the cat walking on its joints instead of its broken feet, the complaint said.

The doctor told the sheriff's investigator that "Weisman's attempts at veterinary medicine were causing severe harm to the animals in his care," the complaint said.

The investigator then went on to watch several episodes of Weisman's television program, in which the Little Canada man said he is not a physician or veterinarian, according to the complaint.

"Despite the disclaimer, Weisman makes claims in his TV program that he can help persons and pets with internal diseases and states that he specializes in the treatment of cancer," the investigator said in the complaint.

During a search of Weisman's home, investigators found files that indicated Weisman gave medical advice to clients for human and animal conditions, according to the complaint.

In one animal case, Weisman diagnosed a woman's dog with cancer and prescribed a treatment. The woman later found out her dog didn't have cancer.

In another, Weisman charged a woman $430 for pet food, supplements and a consultation for her dog's lymphoma. According to the draft complaint, Weisman wrote, "I am a scientist with a full human physician's educational background," but went on to say: "The following procedure is not a diagnosis, cure, treatment or prevention for any disease. The following procedure has not been evaluated by the FDA."

To a woman whose husband was diagnosed with lymphoma, Weisman wrote a treatment protocol and suggested supplements to take, the complaint said. Weisman charged the woman for the consultation and the supplements.

Another person saw Weisman on his cable access program and called him because the man was diagnosed with lung and liver cancer. Weisman worked out a treatment regimen for the man and sold him supplements, the draft complaint said.

In a conversation with an investigator, Weisman said he had done numerous consultations with people but insisted his disclaimers kept him out of conflict with the 2003 injunction, prosecutors allege.

The investigator forwarded Weisman's files to two members of the Minnesota Board of Veterinary Medicine and the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice for review, the complaint said.

"After review, both men advised me that the material in the files clearly indicated that Weisman was practicing veterinary medicine and human medicine," the investigator told prosecutors.

Weisman, reached by phone Wednesday, said it is ridiculous that he is accused of practicing medicine when he doesn't even sell drugs.

"I sell vitamins," he said.


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