AVENTURA, FLA. (WSVN) - - Police have arrested a veterinarian in Aventura on Tuesday after being accused of animal abuse and possession of child pornography.

According to clients whose pets are patients at Caring Hands Animal Hospital, Dr. Prentiss Madden was a very popular vet, so they were stunned to learn that he was accused of sexually abusing a dog.

“I’m really sad. For me, he was such a great doctor. If the allegations are true, they’re horrifying,” said Regina Vlasek, who runs Saving Sage Animal Rescue Foundation.

Vlasek said Madden, a 40-year-old Alabama native, offered her rescue group discounts and treated all of the dogs she rescued.

In 2020, she even named one of the rescues after the vet in his honor.

“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 said.

U.S. Homeland Security Investigations confirmed the arrest to 7News.

The investigation started with a cyber tip. Then on Feb. 24, the feds searched his home.

According to a criminal complaint, they found a collection of child pornography and pictures believed to be of Madden sexually abusing a dog.

“People were calling me and saying, ‘Did you hear? Did you hear?'” said Gina Silvestre.

Silvestre said Madden took care of her dog Sasha.

“I absolutely loved the guy, and he treated my neighbors’ dogs and cats. And to find this out, what can you say?” she said.

Caring Hands Animal Hospital released a statement saying in part, “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. 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.”

“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 said.

Madden made his first appearance before a judge on Wednesday. Another hearing is set for Friday to determine if he will be held in jail until his trial.

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