COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida man posing as a veterinarian was arrested after deputies said he performed surgery on a pregnant dog that later died.
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.
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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.