Barrett Oakes Welch, 64, and Patrice Taylor Welch, 54, own the the Animal Hospital of Nags Head in Nags Head, North Carolina, but police have accused the married couple of using their practice to obtain and traffic drugs.
On Feb. 4, the Dare County Narcotics Task Force and the Nags Head Police Department raided their home in Collington and their animal hospital. Investigators told WAVY that they found 100 pills in a cookie jar inside their home, plus more than 200 pills in the practice, which were taken as evidence.
“Dr. Barrett Welch would take medication from inventory for personal use, and to cover up the shortage [he] would prescribe the medication to his personal pets and pets of family members,” Dr. Logan Botzman, a veterinarian at the practice, told investigators, according to a search warrant.
“Dr. Welch would then go into the computer system and discount the medication to where a bill would never be created.”
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Two years ago, Barrett did face DEA sanctions for incorrectly handling prescription medication and he was fined more than $20,000 in civil penalties, according to the warrant.
The Welches are both facing felony charges of trafficking in opium or heroin, but Barrett faces an additional charge of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or forgery. The couple has since been released on bond, The Virginian-Pilot reported. More charges could be added on.
The Animal Hospital of Nags Head remains open to care for the furred, feathered and scaled locals. “Our hospital is experiencing some necessary staff changes, however, we will continue to open our doors and serve the Outer Banks with the same caring, compassion and excellence in veterinary care that we have provided for 30 years,” the center wrote on Facebook.