EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS 13) — A Shingle Springs veterinarian who treated animals involved in a massive hoarding case could face jail time.

The county said veterinarian Dean Bader broke the law by not reporting the abuse. If convicted, he could lose his license.

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In May 2019, hundreds of cats, dogs and more were removed from a home in Shingle Springs. The women responsible claimed they were running an animal sanctuary but were later convicted of animal abuse. Over the years, they had taken some of the animals to Bader.

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An attorney for Bader said he was just doing his job, but court records accuse him of subjecting animals to “needless suffering” by failing to give proper medical attention. He’s also accused of knowing about the abuse but never reported it.

California law requires veterinarians to promptly report abuse to the police.

“The accusations against him, in this case, are completely false,” said Dain Weiner, the attorney representing Bader.

Weiner said Bader believed the women cared for their animals by bringing them in for treatment.

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“When people bring animals in they are often not in good shape. That’s why people bring animals to the vet and he does the best that he can to treat them,” Weiner said.

Swipe through the slideshow from the Shingle Springs house

Animal activists are skeptical about what Bader knew and when. Weiner admits Bader sometimes treated the animals at the house where they were kept but didn’t know about the conditions inside.

“It is hard because you don’t want to wreck a relationship from a business point of view and a veterinarian point of view,” said David Barnes, a veterinarian at Goldorado Animal Hospital.

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Barns has been a veterinarian for 40 years. He said reporting animal abuse, although required by law, is a grey area. It’s hard to know when an injury is abuse and even more difficult to make the decision to report it.

“I’m sure many of us veterinarians have said ‘oh that’s probably that’ but looked the other way just because they’re worried about the difficulty of getting involved,” he said.

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A judge is allowing Bader to keep his veterinary license as the court process plays out. He’s charged with three counts of animal abuse and one count of failure to report animal abuse.