The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) on Tuesday [16 October 2012] directed that the name of a Berkshire-based veterinary surgeon, previously convicted of four offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, should be removed from the RCVS Register of Veterinary Surgeons.
Dr Ohene-Gyan was convicted at Reading Magistrates Court on 13 June 2012 of offences involving causing unnecessary suffering to three dogs and a cat that he had treated whilst working at Woosehill Vets, Wokingham, between February and October 2011. These offences related to failing to provide adequate or appropriate veterinary care or treatment, or failure to investigate and address an animal’s poor condition. He was sentenced to 21 weeks’ imprisonment concurrently for each offence.
Dr Ohene-Gyan did not attend the one-day Disciplinary Committee hearing and was not represented, although College records showed that he was aware of the dates of the hearing, and had had opportunity to apply for an adjournment. In the absence of any known good reason for Dr Ohene-Gyan’s non-attendance, the Committee concluded that it was in the interests of justice that the hearing go ahead.
In considering whether the Respondent’s convictions made him unfit to practise as a veterinary surgeon, the Committee depended on the findings of the District Judge and the remarks she had made when sentencing. “I found as a matter of fact that some of your actions were taken simply to run up a bill for the owners of pets,” she had said. “You were in a position of special responsibility, trusted by the owners of the animals to treat them appropriately and to alleviate their suffering. You ignored advice from staff. Several animals were affected by your cruel disregard of their welfare. Some of the cruelty arose due to your incompetence. You have demonstrated that you are not fit to be trusted with the care of animals.”
The Disciplinary Committee Chairman, Professor Peter Lees, speaking on behalf of the Committee, said: “The Respondent’s actions, motivated by financial gain, caused serious actual injury to the four animals over a prolonged period of time. Clients are entitled to expect that veterinary surgeons will treat animals in their care humanely and with respect, and make animal welfare their first priority. The Committee considers that the care described in the District Judge’s findings demonstrated a total disregard for the professional responsibilities of a veterinary surgeon.”
The Committee concluded that the removal of Dr Ohene-Gyan’s name from the Register was the only appropriate and proportionate sanction in this case in order to protect the welfare of animals, maintain public confidence in the profession and uphold proper standards of conduct, and it directed the Registrar to do so.