Detectives in southern Florida’s Collier County said the suspect, Osvaldo Sanchez, is a licensed pet groomer but was posing as a licensed veterinarian when he performed a C-section and spay procedure on the pregnant dog, Sugar.
Sugar’s owners contacted Sanchez in May because the dog appeared to be having difficulty delivering her puppies. Sugar was 6 years old and weighed about 6 lbs.
Sanchez had been previously introduced to the couple as a veterinarian, detectives noted.
Sanchez came to their house, examined Sugar and took her outside to his mobile office for surgery.
Detectives said it was in that converted ambulance that Sanchez performed a C-section and spay procedure on the dog, and removed a stillborn puppy during the procedure.
Sanchez charged Sugar’s owners $600.
Detectives said Sugar became increasingly ill from an infection after the procedure, and spent the next week in the care of a licensed veterinary clinic in "dire shape."
A week after the surgery, Sugar got an ultrasound at an emergency pet hospital.
"The doctors noted Sugar’s surgical incision was closed with string or thread and not the standard suture material which could have contributed to her infection," detectives said. Sugar died later that night.
A doctor at the emergency pet hospital told detectives a C-Section is not an uncommon surgery on pregnant dogs and that Sugar likely would have survived had the procedure been performed by a licensed veterinarian.
Further investigation revealed Sanchez at the time was a licensed pet groomer but not a licensed veterinarian, according to detectives.
Sanchez was charged last week with animal abuse and practicing veterinary medicine without a license.
This story was reported from Detroit.