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The dog's name was Tony Montana. This guy. That should've been the vet's first clue that Malorie Ruiz might be more than just a concerned pet owner looking to chill her dog out on some Alpazolam, a form of Xanax.
The second clue? Calling back right after getting the prescription and demanding a refill. "She called and said that she was going out of town and they dropped the drugs in the toilet or something," Park Animal Hospital owner Rachel McGlamery told WFLA. "Oh no, she couldn't find the key ... The key to the safe or some sort of crap."
Leaving on a Vet Plane
McGlamery denied Ruiz more pet pills, but that didn't stop this dedicated dog owner. She headed to Alexander Pharmacy, where pharmacy tech Krystal Karcaka also turned her away:
"Oh my God, it was insane. She came in here, called the very next day. Then she called again the following day. Oh yeah, then she said that she had to go ... She was leaving for Europe and she needed it filled right then and there."
Ruiz never made it to Europe, sadly. McGlamery and Karcaka alerted the police, who arrested Ruiz and charged her with doctor shopping and attempting to obtain a controlled substance by fraud. But what if poor Tony Montana needed some really high dosage to take the edge off? Or Ruiz had other dogs with anxiety issues? After all, her Facebook page allegedly indicated she has worked with animals in the past and may even have training in veterinary medicine. She needs those pills, man!
Getting human drugs for your dog is a fairly common practice, according to Pinellas Park Police Sgt. Michael Lynch. "Sometimes the dosage is a lot less," Lynch told WLFA. "Depending on the size of the animal of course as opposed to a human." But using your dog to get human drugs for you? Not so cool, according to Florida criminal statute § 893.13(7)(a)8, under which a person may not:
Withhold information from a practitioner from whom the person seeks to obtain a controlled substance or a prescription for a controlled substance that the person making the request has received a controlled substance or a prescription for a controlled substance of like therapeutic use from another practitioner within the previous 30 days.
Doctor shopping is a first degree misdemeanor in Florida if it's your first offense; after that, you're looking at felony charges.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.