Man with illegal veterinary practice turns himself in, police say

Jose Alvarez-Marrero is in custody of Hialeah Police Department, officers say


HIALEAH, Fla. – Jose Alvarez-Marrero, who was accused of performing an unsterile surgical procedure out of an apartment in Hialeah on a 12-year-old American bulldog named Royalty, turned himself in to the Hialeah Police Department Friday.

Omar Nestor Del Rio said he took Royalty to Alvarez-Marrero's apartment on April 23 and paid him $250 to neuter him. His dog suffered complications and he took his dog to a veterinary clinic on April 30, but it was too late. His dog died shortly thereafter.

"This case continues to grow, as additional victims have come forward and have contacted our detectives," Hialeah police Lt. Eddie Rodriguez said in a statement.

Hialeah police officers and Miami-Dade Animal Services employees have evidence of Alvarez-Marrero's makeshift operating room. They 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.

Alvarez-Marrero faces three counts of practicing veterinary medicine without a license and animal cruelty with intent to injure or kill. Rodriguez said officers took him to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. 

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