Crime

'Pure animal cruelty.' Second fake vet turns himself in after deadly dog neutering, cops say

Jose Alvarez-Marrero, 58, was arrested and charged by Hialeah police with three counts of practicing veterinary medicine without a license and animal cruelty with an intent to injure or kill on June 1, 2018. He was booked into Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.
Jose Alvarez-Marrero, 58, was arrested and charged by Hialeah police with three counts of practicing veterinary medicine without a license and animal cruelty with an intent to injure or kill on June 1, 2018. He was booked into Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. Hialeah Police Department

It took nine days but Hialeah police have arrested the man they say ran an illegal veterinary clinic inside the apartment he shared with his girlfriend, Sophia Gonzalez.

She was arrested and charged with animal cruelty and practicing veterinary medicine without a license on May 23.

Friday night, her partner was finally in custody after more than a week on the run.

"This evening, Jose Alvarez-Marrero arrived at the Hialeah Police Department accompanied by his attorney and turned himself in to detectives," Hialeah Lt. Eddie Rodriguez said.

Alvarez-Marrero, 58, faces three counts of practicing veterinary medicine without a license and animal cruelty with an intent to injure or kill and was booked into Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.

Hialeah police learned of the illegal makeshift veterinary practice inside the couple's apartment on East 50th Street after Omarnestor Delrio took his 12-year-old American bulldog, Royalty, to Alvarez-Marrero and Gonzalez to be neutered on April 23.

He had brought his pets to Alvarez-Marrero before.

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Several puppies were found by police at the Hialeah apartment following the death of 12-year-old Royalty. Hialeah police

After several procedures, Royalty was in such bad shape that Delrio took him to a Knowles Animal Clinic in Miami. There, a vet told him the neutering procedure on the dog "was beyond medical malpractice." It was, the police report said, "pure animal cruelty."

Royalty died on April 30.

On May 26, as Hialeah police asked for the public's help to find Alvarez-Marrero, Lt. Rodriguez sent a release urging other victims of the fraudulent vet practice to come forward "to help hold Jose Alvarez-Marrero accountable for his actions," he wrote.

"The Hialeah Police Department would like to thank everyone who covered this story and help expose Jose Alvarez-Marrero and his criminal acts," Rodriguez said. "Hialeah detectives have received numerous leads, which our detectives are currently following. This case continues to grow, as additional victims have come forward and have contacted our detectives."

The Polk County Sheriff's Office seized 38 neglected animals from a veterinarian's home. Gail Nichols and her husband Paul S. Smith, were charged with animal cruelty and confinement of animals without sufficient food, water, or shelter.

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