ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Deputies say a man who posed as a veterinary technician left one puppy dead, and others with neurological damage, after a woman paid him $800 to crop the puppies’ ears earlier this month.
When deputies searched the man’s southwest Albuquerque-area home they found puppy ears, blood on the living room table, illegal veterinary drugs and three dogs without food, water or shade in the backyard.
The suspect Adam “Rick” Sanchez, 39, was booked into jail Monday on eight counts of extreme cruelty to animals, three counts of cruelty to animals, two counts of possession of a controlled substance and fraud.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court, an employee with Bernalillo County Animal Care Services called police to report a woman complained to them about Sanchez after she paid him to crop the ears of her Cane Corso puppies on June 15.
Deputies say the woman was told Sanchez was a licensed veterinarian technician, who “came highly recommended.”
“It should be noted that Sanchez is not a licensed veterinarian or veterinarian technician,” a deputy wrote.
The woman told deputies she was told to pick up the puppies from Sanchez’s home around 1 a.m. and was forced to pay $800 cash on the front porch with no receipt.
Deputies say when the woman got home, she found one of the puppies was “stiff and cold to the touch” and had been dead for awhile.
The woman told deputies that when she confronted Sanchez, he “showed no remorse” and told her it was “a risk of the procedure” and she “was warned.”
Deputies say the woman took the still-living puppies to a licensed veterinarian and learned three of them had neurological damage – affecting their gait and mannerisms – due to the procedure and medications used during it.
When deputies searched Sanchez’s home on June 25 they found “a plethora” of dog-ear cropping evidence: scissors, clamps, bloody gloves, blood on the living room table and a tool kit with medical supplies, including drugs that can only be possessed within a veterinarian office by “a medical professional.”
“Also located outside of the residence – were nine pairs of puppy ears in a trash can,” a deputy wrote.
Sanchez told deputies the ears were from other ear-croppings he had done since the original complaint.
Deputies say Sanchez knew he killed the woman’s puppy and felt “bad about it.”
Sanchez told deputies he has been performing “medical procedures” on “all animals” – including suturing belly buttons and castrations for dogs – for more than 20 years and has no training to do so.
“Sanchez told (deputies) that he did not know what he was doing was wrong but he could not stop because he wanted to help people,” a deputy wrote.
Sanchez told deputies he charges $100 per dog and doesn’t report the cash earnings to the IRS or keep invoices or receipts.
Deputies say they seized three bulldogs on Sanchez’s property that were being kept in “inhumane” kennels – provided no shade, water or food – and were in bad health as diarrhea and blood were found inside the kennels.
Judge Yvette Gonzales ordered Sanchez be released from jail Tuesday, on the condition that he does not have “any contact” with animals nor practice “any sort of veterinarian medicine.”