A Florida man is accused of posing as a veterinarian and performing surgery on a pregnant dog that later died.
The Collier County Sheriff's Office said it arrested Osvaldo Sanchez, 61, who officials say is a licensed pet groomer but not a licensed veterinarian. The sheriff's office said Sanchez performed surgery on a 6-year-old pregnant Chihuahua named Sugar on May 19.
According to the sheriff's office, Sanchez had been previously introduced to Sugar's owners as a veterinarian. The owners then called Sanchez because the dog was having difficulty giving birth, authorities said.
The sheriff's office accused Sanchez of illegally performing a C-section and spay procedure in his mobile office. Authorities said he charged the couple $600 for the procedure, which included removing a stillborn puppy.
The sheriff's office said Sugar became ill about a week later from an infection and was taken to a pet hospital for an ultrasound. The pet hospital told authorities that Sugar's incision was not closed properly. A vet from the pet hospital told detectives that a C-section is not an uncommon procedure and Sugar would have likely survived had a licensed vet performed the operation.
"Pets' lives are at risk if unlicensed individuals perform surgery, prescribe medication and claim to provide needed care," Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said in a statement. "Such individuals who believe they can operate outside the law will be arrested and held accountable – our dedicated detectives will see to it."
Rambosk said pet owners should be diligent in choosing a veterinarian.
The American Association of Veterinary State Boardshas a website that can help you look up licensed veterinarians in every state.
"Every state and province in the USA and Canada has a veterinary regulatory board tasked with regulating the practice of veterinary medicine. Regulators ensure that those entering the practice of veterinary medicine meet a minimum standard of practice by being properly educated, qualified, and are fit to be licensed," The American Association of Veterinary State Boards said. "Regulators will also investigate complaints against veterinarians, veterinary technicians, or facilities."
Generally, states require veterinarians to be graduates of American Veterinary Medical Association institutions.
Sanchez was charged with animal abuse and practicing veterinary medicine without a license.
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