RCVS Disciplinary Committee Suspends Lincolnshire Vet: The Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons last week [22 July 2010] suspended a veterinary surgeon from the Register for nine months for convictions regarding docking puppies’ tails and driving offences, and for failing to obtain a client’s consent to treatment or explore other treatment options.
At the conclusion of the four-day hearing, Dr Adetunji Ayinla Jolaosho, formerly principal veterinary surgeon at City Vet Clinic in Syston, near Grantham, was found unfit to practise following two convictions for tail docking plus 17 driving and related offences, which also brought the profession into disrepute.
They further found that he failed to obtain consent to remove tissue from Jemma, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier owned by Mrs Hill, and to discuss a reasonable range of treatment options with her, and that this also amounted to serious professional misconduct.
In December 2008, Mrs Hill brought Jemma to Dr Jolaosho to have a lump on her flank drained. Mrs Hill said she made it clear that she had limited finances and nothing other than this treatment should be done without her consent. Dr Jolaosho undertook a biopsy and removed tissue. He told the Committee that he asked his practice manager to contact Mrs Hill and obtain her consent, however, this was not consistent either with the clinical records or a letter sent to Mrs Hill in December 2008.
“The Committee is satisfied that Dr Jolaosho did not seek to obtain consent from Mrs Hill before he decided to carry out exploratory surgery,” said Caroline Freedman, Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee “It does not consider that there was any attempt to explore treatment options with Mrs Hill before the surgery other than draining the mass.”
On 16 June 2009, Dr Jolaosho pleaded guilty at Market Harborough Magistrates Court to two offences of docking the tails of Rottweiler and Doberman puppies. He was fined GBP10,000 and ordered to pay court costs of over GBP3,000. During 2003 to 2008, he was also convicted of 15 driving and related offences and twice of obstructing a police officer.
At the outset of the hearing, Dr Jolaosho admitted his criminal convictions, telling the Committee of his difficulties following the death of his wife in October 2002 and subsequent sole responsibility for his three teenage children. He also said that the tail docking resulted as an oversight on his part and that as the puppies were docked within five days of birth, there were no welfare issues. He emphasised that he had not carried out tail docking since being visited by the RSPCA in July 2008. He also drew to the Committee’s attention the fact that, until 2003, he had been of good character.
The Committee accepted that for at least part of the period in question he was suffering from emotional problems following his wife’s death, and his continuing financial responsibility for two of his children.
It was however, concerned, that having received a custodial sentence for driving whilst disqualified, he committed further driving offences on release. Nor did they accept that the tail docking was an oversight: in 2006 the RCVS advised Dr Jolaosho to comply with the RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct and not dock dog’s tails unless for “truly therapeutic or prophylactic reasons.” In view of the seriousness of the charges admitted and proved, the Committee concluded that a period of nine months suspension from the Register would be a proportionate penalty.
“The primary purpose of the sanctions is not to punish but to protect the welfare of animals, maintain public confidence in the profession, and declare and uphold proper standards of conduct,” said Mrs Freedman.”
“Bearing in mind the financial consequences of the suspension of Mr Jolaosho, the Committee does not consider that any useful purpose would be served by imposing a longer period of suspension,” she continued. “However, Mr Jolaosho should be aware that any further convictions or failure to observe the College’s Guidelines are likely to lead to the removal of his name from the Register.”