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Dogs’ bodies found buried in puppy mill suspect’s backyard
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More details about the local man that was arrested last month on charges that included operating on animals without a license were disclosed this week in San Joaquin County Superior Court.

Pedro Maldonado Victorio, 40, was arrested and charged in late January after investigators discovered that he had been operating a makeshift surgery suite out of a home on Louise Avenue in Lathrop. Search warrants were served at other locations, including one in Manteca, and additional evidence relating to the illegal operation was discovered.

Law enforcement officials rescued dozens of puppies from the various locations and believed that Victorio was operating a puppy mill and delivering both French and English bulldogs by caesarian section before natural birth could take place.

According to information provided by the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office, Victorio was previously arraigned on two charges of possession of a controlled substance – tramadol, a pain medication, and zolazepam, which is used as an anesthetic in veterinary medicine. He is also being charged with a count of felony animal cruelty, and a misdemeanor charge of practicing veterinary medicine without a license.

He is next scheduled to appear in court on March 8 when a preliminary hearing date will be set for the case.

The case appeared on the radar of local investigators after it was reported by a motorist that had slowed down on Jan. 25 when they saw several English bulldog puppies that had escaped from a nearby house. As the motorist determined which house the dogs belonged to, they saw two men come out of the house wearing medical gloves that appeared to be covered in blood and notified the authorities.

When investigators returned to search the house, they discovered the surgery suite that had been setup inside of a main room of the house as well as more than a dozen puppies and the remains of dogs that had been buried on the property. They also discovered more than $13,000 in cash.

The case is being prosecuted by the Quality of Life Division of the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.