LATHROP, Calif. (KTXL) -- A French bulldog suffering from a serious shoulder injury was one of more than 30 dogs pulled out of three houses San Joaquin County investigators say a man was running in Lathrop and Manteca.
"Kidneys being displaced or the stomach being displaced. That is … that's heinous if you think about it," said Manteca Police Lt. Steve Schluer. "These animals are innocent victims."
According to investigators, Pedro Maldonado Victorio is suspected of cutting into dozens of dogs and displacing organs in his kitchen turned makeshift surgical suite. He allegedly performed illegal surgeries so the dogs could carry more puppies.
"It's almost like an assembly line operation. These dogs were ... give birth. C-section would be completed and sewn up and then artificially put into heat through the medications we have found and then inseminated right back again," said Lathrop Police Chief Ryan Biedermann. "The actual vets we have spoken to say that these operations were done so poorly that the incisions for the C-sections that were completed on these dogs were never truly healed."
"This was a puppy mill, nothing but that," Lt. Schluer said.
Lathrop officers say after getting some tips about dogs on the loose Saturday on East Louise Avenue, they found Victorio right in the middle of his illegal work.
"He was wearing surgical gloves covered in blood and said the puppies were his," Chief Biedermann said.
Aside from talking to police, Victorio has had a lot to say to the public through his Instagram page. There, he advertised C-sections and overnight semen deliveries and graphically filmed how he helped the insemination process along with his own hand on his own dog.
He now faces four felonies, including animal cruelty and practicing without a veterinary license.
Right now, investigators say they are looking at two other suspects who may be arrested. They say those who knowingly did business with the unlicensed, cash-only kitchen table enterprise may face charges as well.
"This is going on in our community. We will not stand for it nor will we tolerate it and we will be swift in the prosecution of this case," said San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar.