Disciplinary Committee strikes off vet for animal welfare offences

The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has directed the Registrar to remove a Leeds-based veterinary surgeon from the register following his conviction for animal welfare offences in 2016.

The Disciplinary Committee hearing for Gary James Cassius Samuel took place on Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 July in respect of the fact that he was convicted, on 21 January 2016, at Leeds Magistrate Court of five animal welfare offences.

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The charges related to causing unnecessary suffering to a number of animals including twelve dogs and four cats and failing to take steps to ensure that the needs of the animals for which he was responsible were met. These animals were kept at the Armley Veterinary Practice, for which Samuel was, at the time, practice principal.

He was sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment suspended for 12 months on the condition he completed 150 hours’ unpaid work and paid a fine of £100; was ordered to pay costs of £500 and a victim surcharge of £80; and made subject to a disqualification order for three years.

He appealed against his conviction in a hearing on April 2018, and it was dismissed in respect of five charges but upheld for one. Samuel didn’t attend the hearing and the committee found the charges against him to be proven, ultimately rendering him unfit to practise as the college said it was incompatible with his role as animal welfare was at “the heart of his practice”.

Taking into account the fact that the animals were found starving in a cellar without water, Samuel did not acknowledge the seriousness of his offences and his continued to deny responsibility he was found to still pose a risk to animals. It was then decided that removal from the register was the most appropriate action.

Ian Green, chairing the committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “Just as the judgement of the Crown Court and the Magistrates Court had found, the committee also found that Dr Samuel must have known that the animals were in distress and were in a neglected state. The committee was sure that Dr Samuel must have been aware of the animals notwithstanding his continued denial. The committee concluded that Dr Samuel was unfit to practise because of the facts underlying the convictions. Dr Samuel had an overriding duty of care for the animals and to take action in relation to their health and welfare because they were living under the roof of his veterinary practice.”

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