Lazaro Ruiz, a Homestead man who conducted "ghetto-style" surgeries on dogs and then posted the results online, pleaded guilty today to animal cruelty and will spend one year behind bars followed by five years of probation. By pleading guilty, he avoided a maximum of 20 years in jail.
Ruiz first popped up on Miami-Dade Animal Services' radar last July when employees there linked a YouTube video to the address of a home owned by his girlfriend. When they inspected the property, they found three adult dogs kept in plastic crates outside. The temperature inside the crates was more than 110 degrees.
Ruiz didn't exactly make much of an attempt to hide his activities. He posted several videos of puppies being treated questionably on a YouTube page under his real name. Most of the dogs were either pit bulls, which are banned in Miami-Dade, or Dobermans. Ruiz kept the dogs in a bathtub and fed them raw meat.
In one of the more gruesome videos, three Doberman puppies are shown in the tub. Ruiz brags about his "ghetto-style home remedies" to clip the dogs' ears. It appears he cut them himself with scissors and then superglued the dogs' ears to soap boxes.
Police, however, still couldn't officially link the videos to Ruiz and continued investigating. Eventually, a witness who says he bought pit bull puppies from Ruiz outside a Walmart in Florida came forward with more evidence and new allegations. The witness claimed that he saw Ruiz perform a C-section on a pregnant dog and injected another dog with a drug meant to induce labor. Ruiz does not have a veterinary license.
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An undercover police officer contacted Ruiz's girlfriend and agreed to meet her at a fire station. The girlfriend then took him to their home to discuss the sale of pit bull puppies, but Ruiz apparently knew something was wrong and came out swinging at cops. A small scuffle ensued, and Ruiz was handcuffed and arrested.
Ruiz agreed to the terms of his guilty plea today in court but apparently didn't enjoy the media attention. When Miami Herald reporter David Ovalle snapped a photo of Ruiz, he responded with a one-finger salute.