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Man with illegal veterinary practice wanted after dog's death, police say

Dog dies after unsterile surgical procedure by fake veterinarian, police say

HIALEAH, Fla. – A man told investigators that he made a mistake when he trusted Jose Alvarez-Marrero with the life of his 12-year-old American bulldog named Royalty.

Omarnestor Delrio told police officers he took Royalty to Alvarez-Marrero's apartment in Hialeah on April 23 and paid him $250 to neuter him.

However, it turns out Alvarez-Marrero wasn't a veterinarian as he claimed to be, Hialeah police said.

Delrio told police his dog suffered complications that included seizures. He also told police there were several unsuccessful visits to Alvarez-Marrero's apartment before he decided to take his dog to a veterinary clinic on April 30.

It was too late. His dog died shortly thereafter.

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Man told police officers his 12-year-old American bulldog named Royalty died after a surgical procedure at an illegal veterinary practice in Hialeah.

"Royalty died from complications resulting from an unsterile surgical procedure," Hialeah police Lt. Eddie Rodriguez said in a statement.

Hialeah police officers and Miami-Dade Animal Services employees searched Alvarez-Marrero's apartment Wednesday. Police officers said they found a makeshift operating room and several dogs and cats. 

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Hialeah Police Department officers and Miami-Dade Animal Services searched the apartment where Jose Alvarez-Marrero and Sophia Altagracia Gonzalez are accused of running an illegal veterinary practice.

Alvarez-Marrero wasn't home. 

Officers arrested his girlfriend and alleged assistant, Sophia Gonzalez. She faces a third-degree felony charge of animal cruelty and practicing veterinary medicine without a license. 

Jose Alvarez-Marrero's girlfriend, Sophia Gonzalez, was arrested.

Alvarez-Marrero "spoke with detectives over the phone," Rodriguez said. He "told detectives he was on his way home to speak with them, but never arrived." 

Rodriguez is asking anyone with information about Alvarez-Marrero's whereabouts to contact the Hialeah Police Department at 305-687-2525 or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

About the Authors:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.