A Florida man has been arrested after he posed as a veterinarian, but was in reality a licensed pet groomer, and performed surgery on a pregnant Chihuahua that later died, authorities said.
Osvaldo Sanchez is charged with animal abuse and practicing veterinary medicine without a license following an investigation by Animal Cruelty Investigations Alliance of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.
“Pets’ lives are at risk if unlicensed individuals perform surgery, prescribe medication and claim to provide needed care,” Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said. “Such individuals who believe they can operate outside the law will be arrested and held accountable – our dedicated detectives will see to it.”
Detectives were notified after the death of Sugar, a six-pound Chihuahua, following the May 18 surgery. The dog’s owners contacted Sanchez after Sugar appeared to be having difficulty delivering her puppies, authorities said. Sanchez has been introduced to the couple as a veterinarian.
He allegedly examined the dog and performed a C-section and spay procedure on the dog in his mobile office, a converted ambulance. During the procedure, he allegedly removed a stillborn puppy and charged the couple $600.
After the surgery, Sugar became ill from an infection and spent the following week in the care of a licensed veterinary clinic in “dire shape,” the sheriff’s office said.
On May 25, the dog was taken to a 24-hour emergency pet hospital for an ultrasound.
“The doctors noted Sugar’s surgical incision was closed with string or thread and not the standard suture material which could have contributed to her infection,” the sheriff’s office said. “Sugar returned to the veterinary clinic the same day and died later that night from multiple complications from the surgery.”
The doctor at the hospital told investigators that a C-Section is not an uncommon procedure on pregnant dogs. Had a qualified veterinarian performed the surgery, Sugar would have likely survived, the doctor said.
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