Nottinghamshire Vet Disciplinary Case Dismissed

The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) yesterday [17 November 2011] dismissed a case against a Nottinghamshire veterinary surgeon, having found not proven the charge that he had caused, allowed or failed to prevent a potential breach of the Rules of Racing of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB).

During the re-scheduled, three-day hearing, the Committee heard that Dr Gary Samuel was on duty on 10 October 2009 as the GBGB licensed track veterinary surgeon at Nottingham Greyhound Stadium. When the trainer came to collect her dog for the race, she discovered a biscuit in his kennel in the paddock area, in potential contravention of the rules of the GBGB, which do not allow greyhounds access to any food, drink or other substance after weighing in, prior to a race. She reported this discovery to the paddock steward. The dog was withdrawn from the race, so there was no prospect of prize money. The trainer, despite her unblemished record, was put at risk of disciplinary action by the GBGB, which could have resulted in the loss of her training licence and livelihood. Following the events of 10 October, the GBGB held a disciplinary hearing, at which Dr Samuel was disqualified indefinitely from holding a GBGB licence and fined GBP2,500, and the matter was referred to the College.

The RCVS Disciplinary Committee confirmed that it should not be bound by the GBGB decision, and that the charges laid against Dr Samuel must be resolved on the basis of the evidence before it. Both Counsel for Dr Samuel and the College urged the Committee to have close regard of CCTV footage from 10 October, which showed Kennel 21 where the dog had been placed and the biscuit found. From evidence given by the paddock steward and the trainer, the Committee accepted that the kennel was clean when the dog entered at 5.30pm, so the biscuit must have been introduced between 5.30pm and 9pm, when the trainer collected him for the race.

The footage available to the Committee from Nottingham Race Track was only four-and-a-half minutes long. The Committee was concerned that there were almost three-and-a-half hours of footage that it had not been shown and that, in addition, witnesses were not able to state that they had viewed the remainder of the footage. In those circumstances, the Committee considered that the footage available must be of the best quality to allow it to reach a sure conclusion as to what exactly Dr Samuel may have been doing in his position close to Kennel 21. From the quality of the footage available, the Committee was not able to be sure.

Speaking on behalf of the Disciplinary Committee, Vice-Chairman Professor Sheila Crispin said: "The fact remains that the Committee cannot be sure that the Respondent caused the biscuit to enter Kennel 21, [so] finds the charge against the Respondent not proved."

Dr Samuel therefore remains on the RCVS Register and is entitled to practise.

Worth a read: Are Vets Ripping Us Off?

Your Dog’s REAL Age Isn’t What You Think It Is

If you’d like to find out how old your dog really is in human years (and why it’s important): Click here to learn more »