COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - A man posing as a veterinarian was arrested after he performed a surgery on a pregnant dog that later died, according to the Collier County Sheriff's Office.
Osvaldo Sanchez was charged with animal abuse and practicing veterinary medicine without a license.
Detectives were first alerted when a 6-year-old Chihuahua named Sugar died after a surgery performed by Sanchez in May, deputies said. The dog's owners contacted Sanchez because the six-pound pup appeared to be having difficulty delivering her puppies.
Sanchez was previously introduced to Sugar's owners as a veterinarian, but an investigation revealed Sanchez isn't a licensed veterinarian, but a licensed groomer.
The 61-year-old man went to Sugar's owner's house to examine the dog and performed a cesarean section and spay procedure in his mobile office, a converted ambulance, according to deputies. He allegedly removed a stillborn puppy and charged $600 for the surgery.
As a result of the surgery, Sugar became ill from an infection and spent the rest of the week "in dire shape" in the care of a licensed vet clinic, deputies said.
Osvaldo Sanchez is arrested after performing a surgery on a pregnant dog named Sugar, according to the Collier County Sheriffs Office. (Photo: Collier County Sheriffs Office)
About a week later, Sugar was taken to an emergency pet hospital where a doctor said Sugar's surgical incision was closed "with a string or thread and not the standard suture material," a doctor told deputies. Doctors also said this might have contributed to the infection.
Sugar was taken back to the clinic later that day, where she died from multiple complications from the surgery, according to deputies.
C-sections are not uncommon surgeries for pregnant dogs and had a qualified vet performed the procedure, Sugar likely would have survived, a doctor told deputies.
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"Pets' lives are at risk if unlicensed individuals perform surgery, prescribe medication and claim to provide needed care," Collier County 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."
Rambosk also urges the public to do their research and only entrust their pets to a licensed veterinarian.
Sanchez is scheduled to appear in court on September 5.