Deputies: Man poses as vet, performs surgery on pregnant dog who died

Published: Aug. 11, 2023 at 9:10 PM EDT
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A southwest Florida man was arrested Friday for claiming to be a veterinarian and performing surgery on a pregnant dog who died of complications from the procedure, authorities said.

The man was a licensed pet groomer but not a licensed veterinarian, the Collier County Sheriff's Office said in a social media post.

The 61-year-old Collier County man was charged with animal abuse and practicing veterinary medicine without a license.

The 6-year-old Chihuahua named Sugar died following the surgery in May. Sugar's owners had been introduced to the man as a veterinarian and reached out to him because the 6-pound dog appeared to be having difficulty delivering her puppies, the sheriff's office said.

The man came to the owners' home and performed a cesarean section on Sugar in a converted ambulance. He removed a stillborn puppy and charged $600, according to the sheriff's office.

After Sugar became ill from an infection a week later, her owners took her to an emergency pet hospital where staff told her that the incision was closed with string or thread instead of standard suture material. They said that could have contributed to her infection. Sugar died hours later.

"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," the sheriff's office.

The man's case hadn't yet been placed in an electronic docket at the Collier County court clerk's office so it was unknown if he had an attorney who could comment.

Associated Press 2023