Details Emerge Around Widow Of NJ ‘Animal Whisperer’ Who Continued Vet Practice Without License

The widow of a revered North Jersey veterinarian known as the “animal whisperer” had help from two alleged co-conspirators from New York in continuing to operate her husband’s clinic without a license, it was recently revealed.

Alia Muslih

Alia Muslih, 41, of Montclair originally was accused of posing as a veterinarian following her husband’s death in order to keep the Totowa Animal Hospital open.

A massive 77-count grand jury indictment returned earlier this month in Paterson lays out additional details.

Included are allegations that Muslih had help from Marco A. Gamarra, 64, of the Bronx and Yaser I. Abdel-Fatah, 50, of Buffalo.

Like Muslih, the two “held themselves out as veterinarians in the course of their employment at the animal hospital, during which time they conducted surgical procedures and medical treatment on animals,” Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes said.

The operation came to light after a resident went to Totowa police after the death of her dog following a routine spay appointment, the indictment reveals.

Detectives from the prosecutor’s White Collar Crimes Division found that Muslih “continued to illegally operate” the hospital without a licensed vet on staff -- at a facility on Furler Street that also houses her Seven Star Pet Resort business -- for nearly a year after her husband died.

Abel Hamdan was renowned in his field, having previously operated the Maywood Veterinary Clinic for 17 years before buying the Totowa Animal Clinic in 1993. He was 73 when he died of COVID in late 2020.

The New Jersey Board of Veterinary Medicine confirmed that Muslih – who’d identified herself in previous news stories as a veterinary technician -- isn’t a licensed veterinarian and that the Totowa Animal Hospital isn't a licensed veterinary clinic.

Taxes also weren’t paid, the indictment alleges.

A Superior Court judge in Paterson has allowed Muslih and her alleged accomplices to remain free, with pre-trial monitoring, pending the resolution of the case.

Conditions include an order restraining them from returning to the business at 140 Furler Street, authorities said.

Charges included illegal possession and distribution of prescription drugs, obtaining the drugs by forgery, theft by deception, forgery, healthcare claims fraud, insurance fraud, corporate misconduct, illegal impersonation, money laundering, failing to file and pay taxes and animal cruelty.

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