LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that his office has filed criminal charges against a San Fernando Valley man for allegedly posing as a doctor and operating an unlicensed after-hours veterinary clinic in Van Nuys. "Animals' lives are in jeopardy if unlicensed individuals perform surgery, prescribe medication and purport to provide needed care," said City Attorney Feuer. "My office takes very seriously protecting the safety and welfare of animals, and we will aggressively prosecute when animals are endangered." Feuer added, "I urge the public to take care to assure they entrust their pets only to licensed vets.”
Hector Antonio Menjivar, 52, is charged with one count of unlicensed practice of veterinary medicine. If convicted, Menjivar could face up to one year in jail and $2,000 in fines.
In February, 2014, the Board of Veterinary Medicine received a complaint from a woman who had her sick cat treated at the Holiday Humane Society in Van Nuys in December, 2013. The victim was allegedly instructed by Menjivar, the owner of the business but not a licensed veterinarian, to bring her animal in after 6:00 p.m., an hour after the clinic closed. Menjivar allegedly introduced himself as a doctor and performed surgery on the cat, charging $300 in cash. The animal died later that night.
An undercover State investigator posing as a potential customer contacted Menjivar in December, 2014 and made an appointment to bring in her dog. Menjivar again allegedly made the appointment after the clinic had closed and introduced himself as a doctor. Menjivar allegedly examined the dog, who was not sick, and prescribed pills for an infection. Arraignment is scheduled for August 5, 2015, in the Van Nuys Superior Court.
Deputy City Attorney Don Cocek, Supervising Attorney of the City Attorney’s Animal Protection Unit, is prosecuting the case.