MONTEREY (CBS 5 / AP / BCN) — The Monterey County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a man suspected of mutilating at least four puppies while posing as a licensed veterinarian.
The SPCA announced the reward as it continued to treat two 14-week-old pit bull terrier puppies, Frankie and Anna, for their painful and infected wounds.
“They’re showing improvement,” SPCA spokeswoman Beth Brookhouser said on Wednesday, explaining that the terriers were taking antibiotics and pain medication, were bright and alert, and had healthy appetites.
The organization rescued the animals last week after they underwent ear-cropping surgery, in which part of the ear is removed so the remainder stands erect. The controversial procedure is usually performed when puppies are 9 to 12 weeks old.
The SPCA identified the man who administered the procedures as Damian Maldonado — describing him as a Latino man, who weighs about 200 pounds and stands about 5 feet 9 inches tall.
It said he set up a makeshift table in the Soledad dog owner’s backyard, where the pups were anesthetized using an unknown
substance and their ears were cut using a pair of small scissors. Maldonado reportedly used fishing line as suture material and charged the owner $100 per puppy for the procedure.
The SPCA said Maldonado did not have the veterinary license required to perform ear-cropping.
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 will 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 added.
Maldonado also reportedly operated on a third puppy that fared better than Frankie and Anna, and the SPCA said it believed there might be other victims in the Bay Area.
While investigating calls from other potential victims, the organization found an 11-week-old Doberman Pinscher puppy in Salinas that had its ears and tail cropped in a botched job by Maldonado, Brookhouser said.
Anyone who believes their pet was a victim was encouraged by the SPCA to contact it at (831) 373-2631.
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