I’m not making this up, though the headline makes it sound like a joke. Detective Fred, an eight month old stray cat from Brooklyn, NY posed as a patient to help catch a young man who had been posing as a vet to scam pet lovers.
The first big break in the case of the shady non-vet came from Boston Terrier Burt Reid and his family, who contacted authorities after Burt managed to survive a botched abdominal operation. Their first clue, father Raymond Reid said, was that their vet only made house calls, and took poor Burt to an undisclosed location for his surgery.
Boston Terrier Burt with Detective Fred at a recent press conference.
Enter Officer Fred, a stray rescued from the streets of Brooklyn by Animal Care and Control, a non-profit rescue organization. Fred was adopted by prosecutor Carol Moran, who says he’s a typical Brooklyn guy – very laid back and easy going. Fred was the perfect cat for the fake vet sting operation.
An officer posing as a concerned pet owner contacted the fake vet and
scheduled an appointment for Fred. The encounter was taped, and the faux vet was arrested leaving the apartment with a fistful of cash and Fred in a box for neutering at an undisclosed location.
A week after the sting and arrest, the fake vet is out of jail on $2500 bail. Authorities aren’t sure how long he had been posing as a vet and performing surgeries – his veterinary knowledge was apparently based on a previous job as a lab assistant at a veterinary office. The twenty-eight year old fake vet may have been putting animals under the knife for as long as seven years! He has been charged with unauthorized use of a professional title, and torturing and injuring animals.
But… if your vet doesn’t have an office, only comes to your house, and performs surgery in an undisclosed location… you would do well to be a little cautious! Your local or state government should be able to help you verify a vet’s credentials if you ever have any questions.