A Florida dog groomer who posed as a veterinarian has been arrested after performing a cesarean section on a Chihuahua who later died of “multiple complications from the surgery,” police say.
Osvaldo Sanchez, 61, was arrested Friday and charged with animal abuse and practicing veterinary medicine without a license, according to a news release from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.
Sugar, a 6-year-old Chihuahua, was having difficulty delivering her puppies in May when her owners contacted Sanchez, who had previously introduced himself as a veterinarian to the couple, the sheriff’s office said.
Sanchez visited the home on May 18 to evaluate Sugar and performed a C-section and spay procedure on the 6-pound dog in his mobile office. During the surgery he removed a stillborn puppy and charged Sugar’s owners $600 for the procedure, the sheriff’s office said.
After the surgery, Sugar got an infection and became ill. She stayed at a licensed veterinary clinic for a week in “dire shape,” the sheriff’s office said.
On May 25, Sugar went into 24-hour emergency pet care. Doctors found during an ultrasound that the C-section incision was closed with string or thread and not with the standard suture material, which detectives said could have led to her infection.
“Sugar returned to the veterinary clinic the same day and died later that night from multiple complications from the surgery,” the sheriff’s office said.
“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.”
Sanchez was not a licensed veterinarian, but he was a licensed pet groomer, according to detectives.
C-sections are not uncommon surgeries for dogs and if a qualified vet performed the procedure, Sugar likely would have survived, a veterinarian at the emergency pet hospital told detectives.
CNN has reached out to the Collier County court clerk for information regarding Sanchez’s legal representation.