A Florida man posing as a veterinarian was arrested after deputies said he performed surgery on a pregnant dog that later died, KTLA sister station WFLA reports.
Detectives said they were alerted after a 6-year-old Chihuahua named Sugar died following an illicit surgery performed by 61-year-old Osvaldo Sanchez.
Deputies said Sugar’s owners contacted Sanchez because the 6-pound dog appeared to be having difficulty delivering her puppies. Sanchez had been previously introduced to the couple as a veterinarian, the sheriff’s office said.
Sanchez went to the couple’s home on May 18 to examine Sugar and performed a C-section and spay procedure on the dog in his mobile office, which was a converted ambulance. Investigators said he removed a stillborn puppy during the procedure and charged the couple $600.
The couple told deputies that Sugar became ill from infection as a result of the surgery and spent the following week in the care of a licensed veterinary clinic in dire shape.
On May 25, Sugar was taken to a 24-hour emergency pet hospital for an ultrasound. The doctors told the couple that Sugar’s surgical incision was closed with string or thread – not the standard suture material – which could have contributed to her infection.
Sugar returned to the licensed veterinary clinic the same day and died later that night from multiple complications from the surgery, the sheriff’s office said.
A doctor at the emergency pet hospital told the detectives that a C-section is not an uncommon surgery on pregnant dogs and that if a qualified veterinarian had performed the surgery, Sugar would likely have survived.
Investigators later found out that Sanchez is a pet groomer, not a licensed veterinarian.
Sanchez was arrested and charged with animal abuse and practicing veterinary medicine without a license.