Veterinary

Vet guilty of helping puppy farming gang scam public

A London vet has been found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud after he was found to be falsifying documents for a puppy farming gang.

Daniel Doherty, who was based in Uxbridge, was paid nearly £80,000 to provide health checks and vaccination cards so the gang could sell the illegally bred puppies.

Doherty also operated two My Vet 24/7 surgeries in the west London area and gave false documents to disguise the fact that the puppies were imported.

During a four-week trial at Isleworth Crown Court, the RSPCA gave evidence to show that 4,689 of the gang’s puppies were taken to Doherty’s practices between 23 March 2011 and 10 May 2017 for their first vaccinations.

Vaccination cards showed that the puppies had been vaccinated against parvovirus, however dogs who went on to be purchased later contracted the disease with some suffering fatal results.

A former employee of My Vet 24/7 raised concerns about Doherty’s practices and a vet in Hertfordshire lodged a complaint about the lack of information on the vaccination cards he issued to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

RSPCA inspector Kirsty Withnall, who led the investigation dubbed Operation Rivet, said: “This was a vet who should have known better and should have had the animals’ best interests at heart. But he was supplementing his income with fraudulent cash from the puppy trading gang who were making millions from selling sick and dying puppies to unsuspected members of the public.

“Doherty was knowingly signing off vaccination cards and veterinary paperwork for thousands of puppies in the gang members’ real names as well as approving the paperwork that was written out in their fake aliases.”

She added: “He was complicit and, if anything, aided their fraud because any buyers who purchased puppies from the gang may well have been comforted and reassured by the fact that the dog they were buying had paperwork to say it had already been to a vet for vaccinations and health checks. The problem is that the puppies had not been adequately checked so some were already harbouring illnesses by the time they were sold.”

Doherty will return to the court in May for sentencing, along with the six members of the puppy farming gang.

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