UK vet found illegally importing puppies struck off

A vet convicted of illegally importing puppies has been struck off by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

Greater Manchester-based veterinary surgeon Viktor Molnar pleaded guilty to illegally importing puppies to the UK.

The former vet’s disciplinary hearing took place on Thursday, August 2, in regards to his conviction in March 2018 of five counts of importing puppies into the UK illegally.

At that court hearing, he also pleaded guilty to one count of keeping premises as a pet shop without the authority of a licence granted by a local authority.

As a result of his conviction, Molnar was sentenced to 270 hours of unpaid supervised work and was ordered to pay compensation of £2,683.93 and costs of £250.

‘Undermining biosecurity precautions’

The committee, which proceeded with the hearing in Molnar’s absence, found that the RCVS charges against him were proven and went on to consider whether they made him unfit to practice as 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, therefore, found that, because Molnar’s conviction was directly linked to his veterinary practice and posed a substantial risk to animal welfare and public health, his conviction meant his conduct fell far short of what was expected of a professional.

In considering the sanction, 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 said: “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.

Green added that 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.