RCVS orders vet convicted of illegally importing puppies to be struck off

The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has directed the registrar to remove a Greater Manchester-based veterinary surgeon from the register after he pleaded guilty to illegally importing puppies to the UK.

The Disciplinary Committee hearing for Viktor Molnar took place on Thursday 2 August 2018 at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court in March 2018 of five counts of importing puppies to the UK in breach of the Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and other Mammals) Order 1974.

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He also pleaded guilty to one count of keeping premises as a pet shop without the authority of a licence. Molnar was sentenced to 270 hours of unpaid supervised work and was ordered to pay compensation of £2,683.93 and costs of £250.

The committee concluded that Molnar was unfit to practice being a veterinary surgeon.

Ian Green, chairing the committee and speaking on its behalf, said: “The committee accepts the college’s submission that the fact that they [the puppies] were imported contrary to the law of the UK, because they were underage and had not been properly vaccinated, undermines the integrity of a system which is designed to ensure that effective vaccination and precautions against disease take place in every case.

“The committee also notes that the convictions in this case were directly linked to the respondent’s veterinary practice, as they related to animals sold from his veterinary practice address. By operating an unlicensed pet shop, and by doing so through an email address that referred to his occupation as a veterinary surgeon, the respondent was abusing his position as a veterinary surgeon, and acting in a way that was liable to undermine the reputation of the profession.”

The committee considered that while he had no previous convictions or adverse professional findings against him, the case against him was very serious “because of the risk of serious harm both to animals and the public, as well as being for financial gain.”

Green added: “The committee considered that the respondent, as a veterinary surgeon, must have known the serious implications and consequences of what he was doing by importing these puppies unlawfully. The public should expect to be able to trust a veterinary surgeon to ensure that his conduct does not put at risk the health of both animals and humans.”

Ultimately, the committee felt that the only appropriate sanction was to direct the registrar to remove Molnar’s name from the register.

Molnar can lodge an appeal with the Privy Council within 28 days of being notified of the Disciplinary Committee’s decision.

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