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Published: Saturday, 1/30/2010

Ex-Bowling Green State University lab director convicted


BOWLING GREEN - The former director of the animal research lab at Bowling Green State University pleaded guilty Friday to two charges for using animal tranquilizers from the lab to euthanize pets at home.

Wood County Common Pleas Judge Alan Mayberry sentenced Denise Hook, 40, of Weston to 90 days of electronic home monitoring - a sentence agreed to by the prosecutor's office and the defense as part of a plea agreement.

She pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property and euthanizing without a license, both first-degree misdemeanors.

Ms. Hook, who was terminated from her job at BGSU in May for violating university policies, was indicted in November for five felonies - two counts of theft of drugs and three counts of receiving stolen property - in addition to the misdemeanor euthanizing charge.

Gwen Howe Gebers, an assistant Wood County prosecutor, said Ms. Hook had responsibility for narcotics used at the lab, took some of those drugs to her home, and used them to euthanize "at least a couple animals of hers and one of a neighbor's" without the consent of BGSU or an appropriate license.

Ms. Hook's attorney, Drew Hanna, said Ms. Hook's former supervisor gave her the drugs in 1988 and she stored them in her barn. He said it was in the midst of a bitter divorce that her estranged husband called the Wood County Sheriff's Office to report that she had the drugs.

Judge Mayberry noted that at least two of the drugs in questions - ketamine and pentobarbital - can be abused as street drugs.

Ms. Hook told the court she did not abuse drugs and only took them home because she was unaware of the university's policy regarding their disposal. She used them, she said, to end the suffering of injured animals.

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