California police found a makeshift surgery room in the man’s kitchen, dogs in overstuffed kennels and the remains of deceased dogs at nearby locations.
A California bulldog breeder has been arrested for allegedly performing surgeries on dogs in his home, according an announcement on the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
Last Saturday, according to the announcement, a passerby called police after seeing unattended bulldog puppies on a street in Lathrop followed by two men leaving a home wearing bloody rubber gloves. Inside the home, authorities found multiple narcotics, at least a dozen dogs, and a makeshift surgery table in the kitchen, where homeowner Pedro Maldonado Victorio allegedly performed C-sections without having the legal authority to do so.
“Most of the time, [bulldogs’] heads are too big to actually fit through the pelvic canal and you have to … do a C-section to get them out,” California practice owner Sam Varon, DVM, told Sacramento’s abc10 News. “They are very high-risk procedures,” Dr. Varon said, and can cost as much as $2,000 at a veterinary hospital.
When authorities learned that Victorio was already under investigation by Manteca Animal Services for performing surgery on animals without a veterinary license, they issued warrants for nearby properties and found additional evidence of surgeries, $13,000 in cash and the remains of deceased dogs. About 30 dogs in all—about half of which need extensive veterinary care—were rescued from the “overcrowded kennels” on these properties.
In a press conference on Friday, Lathrop Police Chief Ryan Biedermann revealed that female dogs are suffering from nerve damage and several have displaced kidneys and stomachs, causing severe intestinal issues.
“The veterinarians that we have spoken to say these operations were done so poorly that the incision for the C-sections ... were never truly healed,” Bierdermann said, adding that the owner didn’t even take care of his own dogs, which also are in very poor condition.
“It was like an assembly line operation; these dogs would give birth; C-sections would be completed ... and they were then artificially put in heat through the medication that we found, then inseminated again,” Biedermann said. “They were basically circumventing the normal biological process of these dogs to probably maximize the money they are making.”
Victorio pleaded not guilty to “two felony counts of transporting prescription drugs used for anesthetics and pain, one felony count of animal cruelty and one misdemeanor count of practicing veterinary medicine without a license," according to public records.
His lawyer, Victoria Bossi, told CBS13 Sacramento News that Victorio has a bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine from Mexico but is not licensed to practice in California. “I would just ask that people refrain from jumping to conclusions until everything is heard,” Bossi said.
Victorio’s next court date is set for February 19, according to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s office.