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Lancashire vet found guilty of serious professional misconduct

19 December 2007

Please note
This is an archived news story.

At a hearing that concluded on Thursday 13 December, the Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons found a Lancashire-based veterinary surgeon guilty of serious professional misconduct for treating two greyhound bitches with an oestrus-suppressing medicine that he ought to have known was banned by the National Greyhound Racing Club (NGRC) as it does not have a veterinary product licence.

The Committee found that as Mr Paul Antony Evans described himself as a specialist in the treatment of greyhounds, many of which race under NGRC rules, he should have had greater knowledge of those rules than an average veterinary surgeon in practice.

Mr Evans admitted that between 1 January and 31 March 2006 he had treated two greyhounds – Confident Bunny and Checkinpost – owned by Mrs Elaine Parker, with norethindrone, even though that medicine was prohibited under NGRC rules. Both Mr Evans and Mrs Parker had been fined when the banned substance was detected via random NGRC drugs tests.

Mr Evans explained that the treatment had been chosen as it was not given by injection, and the two bitches in question were particularly nervous and averse to injection. Mrs Parker had been aware of these reasons and Mr Evans had kept a full record of the treatment given.

He said that he had not been aware that norethindrone was banned under NGRC rules and had given it to many greyhound bitches during his professional career, many of which had run under NGRC rules. He stated that no concerns had been raised by the NGRC before, although the drug had been named on his and trainers’ records, the latter being subject to biannual inspection by the NGRC.

The Committee accepted Mr Evans’ explanation that he mistakenly believed that the NGRC prohibition did not apply to norethindrone, because it was widely used and had previously gone unchallenged by the NGRC, and also because he believed it was less detrimental to dogs’ welfare and had a lesser effect on performance than licensed alternatives. However, Mr Evans accepted that he ought to have known that the advice he gave Mrs Parker was wrong.

The Committee felt that Mr Evans fell far below the standard to be expected of a veterinary surgeon in his position, duly finding him guilty of serious professional misconduct. However, the Committee accepted that he had caused no adverse effect on the dogs’ welfare or performance, or on the integrity of racing, neither did he receive any financial or other benefit from his action. In view of this, it decided to take no further action, although it does expect Mr Evans to thoroughly familiarise himself with the NGRC rules and conduct his practice accordingly.

Mrs Alison Bruce, Disciplinary Committee Chairman, said: “Public confidence requires that all veterinary surgeons who are licensed by the NGRC or who are involved in regulated greyhound racing should be entirely familiar with the rules of the NGRC, particularly in relation to the administration of drugs and other substances, and apply them.”

ENDS

For more information please contact:

Ian Holloway
Senior Communications Officer, Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
T 020 7202 0727, E i.holloway@rcvs.org.uk, M. 07773 372767

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. The RCVS is the regulatory body for veterinary surgeons in the UK and deals with issues of professional misconduct, maintaining the register of veterinary surgeons eligible to practise in the UK and assuring standards of veterinary education.

2. RCVS disciplinary powers are exercised through the Preliminary Investigation and Disciplinary Committees, established in accordance with Schedule 2 to the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (the 1966 Act). The RCVS has authority to deal with three types of case:

a) Fraudulent registration

b) Criminal convictions

c) Allegations of disgraceful professional conduct

3. The Disciplinary Committee is a constituted judicial tribunal under the 1966 Act and follows rules of evidence similar to those used in a court of law.

4. Further information about Inquiry into Mr Evans, including the charges, findings and judgement, can be found via www.rcvs.org.uk/disciplinary.

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