Pet groomer posing as vet arrested after performing fatal surgery on pregnant dog

Reporter: Amy Galo Writer: Rachel Murphy
Published: Updated:

Collier County Detectives have arrested a man after he posed as a veterinarian and performed surgery on a pregnant dog that later died.

Osvaldo Sanchez, 61, is charged with animal abuse and practicing veterinary medicine without a license, according to the Animal Cruelty Investigations Alliance.

“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 operate outside the law will be arrested and held accountable – our dedicated detectives will see to it.”

Collier County detectives were alerted after a 6-year-old, 6-pound Chihuahua named Sugar died following an illicit surgery performed by Sanchez on May 18.

man posing as vet kills pregnant dog
Sugar the dog, who passed away CREDIT Collier County Sheriff’s Office

Sugar’s owners contacted Sanchez because the tiny dog appeared to be having difficulty delivering her puppies.

Sanchez had been previously introduced to the couple as a veterinarian and came to their home. Sanchez examined Sugar and performed a C-section and spay procedure on the dog in his mobile office, a converted ambulance. He removed a stillborn puppy during the procedure. Sanchez charged Sugar’s owners $600 for the procedure.

Sugar became ill from an infection as a result of the surgery. She spent the following week in the care of a licensed veterinary clinic in dire shape, according to the Collier County Sheriff’s Department.

Sugar was taken to a 24-hour emergency pet hospital for an ultrasound on May 24. The doctors noted Sugar’s surgical incision was not closed with the standard suture material, which could have contributed to her infection.

Sugar returned to the veterinary clinic the same day and died that night from multiple complications from the surgery.

A doctor at the emergency pet hospital told detectives a C-Section is not an uncommon surgery on pregnant dogs and that had a qualified veterinarian performed the procedure on Sugar she likely would have survived.

Further investigation revealed Sanchez is a licensed pet groomer, but he is not a licensed veterinarian.

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