Authorities in South Florida allege a veterinarian sexually abused a dog and was also found to be in possession of child pornography.
On Wednesday, 40-year-old Prentiss Madden went before a judge where, he was ordered to remain incarcerated while he awaits a bond hearing, according to news station WTVJ.
Investigators started looking into the vet’s extracurricular activities after the file-sharing service DropBox reported to authorities that a user possibly had over 1,600 files of suspected child porn.
A criminal complaint unsealed on Wednesday says the files were tracked down to an IP address registered to Madden’s residence in Aventura.
Homeland Security agents searched Madden’s house on Feb. 24 and discovered files where he described in detail “the sexual abuse of animals and children” along with several images and videos showing bestiality, the complaint reported.
The charges Madden faces are classified under a federal law against animal abuse, which was created in response to a category of cruelty where people record the abuse of animals for the sexual gratification of viewers, according to the Miami Herald.
In 2019, the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, signed into law by President Donald Trump, makes the filming of torture videos involving animals prosecutable with a penality of up to seven years in prison.
Another depraved video reportedly discovered seems to have been recorded at Caring Hands Animal Hospital in Miami.
Madden worked as medical director there until he was released two weeks ago when his coworkers found out that he was under investigation, according to the hospital.
“This leads me to believe that Madden may be abusing animals entrusted to his care,” Agent Leah Ortiz said in the complaint.
Caring Hands Animal Hospital responded in a statement noting that they were “appalled by the nature of the charges” against the former colleague.
“We at Caring Hands Animal Hospital are appalled by the nature of the charges against Prentiss Madden. We immediately terminated Mr. Madden two weeks ago upon learning that he was under investigation for these heinous and unthinkable crimes,” the hospital wrote in a statement to WTVJ.
“Our legal team and every single member of the Caring Hands family will be doing everything in our power to aid law enforcement and facilitate their investigation and prosecution,” the hospital added.
Clients who had their pets treated at Caring Hands Animal Hospital were stunned, saying that Dr. Madden was a very popular vet, making the revelation that he was accused of sexually abusing a dog even harder to take.
“I’m really sad. For me, he was such a great doctor. If the allegations are true, they’re horrifying,” Regina Vlasek, who runs Saving Sage Animal Rescue Foundation, commented.
Vlasek claims that Madden even offered her rescue group discounts and treated all of the dogs she rescued. She said they were so close, she even named one of the rescues after Madden in recognition for his work in 2020.
“The closest relationships that we have are with our veterinarians, those are the people that we trust. I was so sick after I heard this that I threw up,” she stated.
“I feel bad for the animals, I feel bad for the staff that care and do great jobs, and it’s just really a shame that if this is true, that he’s capable of this, ’cause I couldn’t see it,” Vlasek remarked.
Gina Silvestre was another client who says Madden cared for her dog, Sasha.
“People were calling me and saying, ‘Did you hear? Did you hear?’” said Silvestre.
“I absolutely loved the guy, and he treated my neighbors’ dogs and cats. And to find this out, what can you say?” she said.
Madden, originally from north Alabama, described himself in an online profile as the “proud pet parent” of a Shih Tzu named Lucky as well as two Burmese pythons named Mocha and Sherbert.