Puppies recovering after bad procedure from fake vet
MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. -- Two puppies who were surrendered to a Monterey County animal shelter last week are recovering after a botched ear cropping procedure performed by a man claiming to be a veterinarian.
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for Monterey County is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Damian Maldonado, who reportedly operated on the puppies on a makeshift table in the backyard of the pet owner's Soledad home.
According to the SPCA, the pups were anesthetized using an unknown substance and their ears were cut using a pair of small scissors. Maldonado allegedly used fishing line to stitch up the wounds and charged the owner $100 per puppy for the procedure.
The puppies, 14-week-old pit bull terriers Frankie and Anna, rescued Friday, suffered from painful and infected wounds following the procedure.
"They're showing improvement," SPCA for Monterey County spokeswoman Beth Brookhouser said.
The terriers are taking antibiotics and pain medication, are bright and alert, and have healthy appetites, Brookhouser said.
Ear cropping is a controversial procedure where part of a dog's ear is removed to make them stand up straight, according to the SPCA. The procedure is usually performed when puppies are 9 to 12 weeks old.
Maldonado also reportedly operated on a third puppy that fared better than Frankie and Anna, and the SPCA for Monterey County believes there might be other victims in the Bay Area.
Maldonado is described as a Latino man, who weighs about 200 pounds and stands about 5 feet 9 inches tall.
If he is brought into custody, Maldonado could be charged with practicing veterinary medicine without a license and various other violations for cruelty to animals.
Once Frankie and Anna are fully recovered, they'll stay in protective custody since they will be considered "evidence" if Maldonado is apprehended, Brookhouser said.
"If the case does go cold, we'll put them up for adoption," Brookhouser said.
The organization is currently investigating calls from potential victims, Brookhouser said.
Anyone with more information about this case or believe their pet is a victim is encouraged to contact the SPCA for Monterey County at (831) 373-2631.
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