LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office has filed animal-related charges against Marc Ching, one of Hollywood’s favorite animal activists.

(Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images)

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The three misdemeanor charges filed against Marc Teruo Ching, 41, include practicing veterinary medicine without a license, false advertising, and unlawfully engaging in the business of processing, packing and preparing “fresh and frozen horsemeat or any other meat product” for use as pet food without holding a valid license, according to the criminal complaint.

“We’re prosecuting because practicing veterinary medicine without a license, as we allege here, is illegal for good reason. It can take advantage of pet owners and place animals at risk. That’s true irrespective of whether the defendant holds himself out as a hero of the animal rights movement,” Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement.

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The charges follow a Los Angeles Times investigation into Ching’s work and included complaints from veterinarians that Ching convinced pet owners to give their animals items that he sells at his business, the Petstaurant, which operates stores in Sherman Oaks and on the Westside, instead of using prescribed treatment regimens for serious health conditions; and raised questions about his overseas rescue efforts.

“The LA Times article relies heavily on misinformation sourced from our former Executive Director,” Ching said on the website of his rescue organization, Animal Hope and Wellness.

Ching is scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 2. If convicted as charged, he faces up to 18 months in county jail and a maximum $4,500 fine.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)