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Man charged with animal torture after police find illegal ear-cropping operation

KETV Omaha logo KETV Omaha 4/24/2019
a close up of a sign: Juan Chaidez © Provided by Hearst Television, Inc. Juan Chaidez

Omaha police arrested a man after the Humane Society was tipped off about an illegal dog ear-cropping operation in his home.

Douglas County prosecutors believe he cut the ears off puppies.

A judge initially dismissed the case based on a lack of evidence. The state felt this was too serious to let go and issued a search warrant. What they found led to the new torture charge.

“They’re in effect mutilating an animal,” Don Kleine, Douglas County attorney, said.

In a home near 26th and Jones streets, Humane Society officers and police said they found evidence of an illegal ear-cropping operation.

“There were dogs there who had recently obviously had their ears cut. There were body parts, ear parts that were laying there. The conditions were not sanitary,” Kleine said.

Police arrested 40-year-old Juan Chaidez and took five pit bull type dogs from the home.

Prosecutors said they were tipped off by a Missouri breeder in town to buy a dog from Chaidez.

Court documents say that man witnessed Chaidez cut the ears off three puppies on his kitchen counter. Those documents say the counters were covered in human food.

That witness, documents say, was told not to tell anyone, and that a “veterinarian should be performing that surgery.”

The documents also say the witness saw syringes and medications around the dogs.

“Originally the people that came in thought the dogs were dead,” Kleine said.

He told officers the puppies woke and whined in pain as Chaidez cut their ears.

The criminal complaint shows officers found dirty razors, syringes, IV bags and antibiotics.

Officers said Chaidez wasn't using medical grade equipment, but something out of a toolbox.

“This wasn’t something that was a surgery that was being done. In our minds he was mutilating these dogs under conditions that were abhorrent,” Kleine said.

By law, only veterinarians are allowed do the surgery. The Humane Society said it's because they're trained how to do the surgery properly, and with the correct dosages of medication.

“There’s no way anyone in the public can put a dog under anesthesia and crop a dog’s ear like a vet can, and the law is very very clear,” Mark Langan, with the Nebraska Humane Society, said.

Prosecutors charged Chaidez with felony animal torture and said police warned him about his operation eight years ago.

“This is an individual who had previously been told ‘You can’t do this under these conditions, this is not allowed.’ So this individual was warned about this and ignored the warning and did it anyway,” Kleine said.

The complaint says Chaidez admitted to the witness that he cropped both "his dogs ears and other people's dog's ears."

It also says Chaidez admitted to Langan that he "had cropped some female dog's ears."

Langan said people often will have dog’s ears cropped for aesthetics. Other times, he said, it’s for dog fighting. He did not say what Chaidez's motive was.

Chaidez will have to pay $2,500 to get out of jail on bond.

If he's found guilty, he'll face up to three years in prison.

READ MORE:Man charged with animal torture after police find illegal ear-cropping operation

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