NEWARK, N.J. -- A New Jersey veterinarian has been accused of mistreating dogs. Several of them even died under his care.
Jose Lopes brought his dog to the Newark Veterinary Hospital for stitches after it suffered a small cut to its back.
"Half an hour later he called me, and I was scared already. Why did he call me? 'Oh, she died.' What do you mean she died?" Lopes told CBS2's Kevin Rincon on Wednesday.
His vet was Dr. Ehren Yablon. The 44-year-old is now facing multiple counts of animal cruelty.
"They gotta close this place down. They gotta close them up. They're going to keep killing," Lopes said.
"This guy is evil, really, really evil," added Alessandra Esteves, who lives next to the animal hospital.
Esteves said her friend brought her dog in for an exam, but it never made it home.
"Then he charged the woman $2,600, saying the dog died during the surgery," Esteves said.
The Essex County Prosecutor's Office says its investigation started in June of last year when a woman brought her English bulldog into the office for an exam. The vet said it needed surgery. The next day, it died. Another vet examined the remains and found it never underwent surgery, Rincon reported.
"He's literally just a monster. It's a monster thing to do to these animals," Jessica Portillo said.
Portillo brought in one of her Yorkshire terriers for a visit, when it was exposed to parvo. In all, five of her dogs died due to that virus.
"A lot of people can just say these are dogs, but to me these are my children. These are my best friends, and it's not fair for someone to be put through this," Portillo said.
She got help from Susan Janette, who runs Rosemarie's Rescue Ranch and managed to save one of her dogs, named Lexi.
The virus spread from a huskie at the vet. The owner also worked with Janette. It turns out he lost seven huskies to the virus who were all brought to the hospital. Before they died, the vet refused to let the owners go without payment.
"This doctor was holding these dogs hostage for a ransom of $1,600 in cash for services that weren't even provided," Janette said.
So far, there has been no comment from that vet. He'll be in court for his first appearance on May 17, and, for now, his clinic remains open to the public.
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