Category Archives: Veterinary Malpractice

Leicester: Jatinder Dhami

#TheList veterinary surgeon Jatinder Dhami, born 16/07/1971, of 10 Woodlands Close, Leicester LE2 4QP – for violence towards animals in his care

Dr Jatinder Dhami, a vet with the Vets4Pets practice in Springfield Retail Park, Market Harborough, admitted attacking a Staffordshire bull terrier named Sasha after she supposedly bit him following her booster injection. A receptionist at the practice witnessed Dhami kicking the helpless dog twice and then stamping on her.

She described how she saw Dhami kick Sasha “with the front of his toes, the kick propelled her to slide along the floor to the extent of the lead, she looked up and whimpered, cowered and had her ears back.”

She continued; “She got up and the respondent then took a step towards her and kicked her again, causing her to slide along the floor again.”

The receptionist then swore at Dhami, who is her employer, before leaving in tears.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) committee had the power to strike Dhami off the register, leaving him unable to practise.

But instead they decided that, based on good references and character witnesses, it would be unlikely to happen again and a suspension was appropriate.

Dr Dhami told the committee he had domestic and family pressures and had been working long hours. He said in his statement: “I do not, and never have, sought to defend what was an irrational and adrenalin-fuelled action, but equally my actions were in no way premeditated.”

The committee also heard Dr Dhami and his family had been receiving “hostile communications” due to the case.

The committee took that into account during its decision making. It said in its report: “As recently as yesterday, the respondent received an anonymous letter couched in clearly racist terms.

“The committee deplores the fact that the respondent and his family have been subjected to this campaign.”

The committee also said they were assured by one of his colleagues who gave evidence on his behalf that Dr Dhami would not kick another animal.

The report stated: “The committee was particularly impressed by the evidence of a registered veterinary nurse who has worked with the respondent for about 12 months.

“She had no doubt about the respondent’s professionalism and care for animals.”

The committee members decided to give him a suspension of four months.

The report said: “The committee is satisfied that a period of suspension is sufficient in this case to protect the welfare of animals, maintain public confidence and to declare and uphold proper standards of conduct.”

Two other allegations relating to a kitten and a Jack Russell dog were dismissed by the committee.

Leicester Mercury

Wallington, Greater London: Zahra Rafiq

#TheList vet Dr Zahra Tahaneem Rafiq, born circa 1990, now of Wallington, Greater London, and previously of Merseyside – took two newborn French bulldog puppies from their owners; one of puppies died

Dr Zara Rafiq was fired after she took a French bulldog puppy she was meant to be delivering.

Rafiq took the pup home with her after joking to a colleague that she planned to do it. The newborn dog died three days later at Rafiq’s home, which she admitted despite earlier saying it had faded in her car.

Rafiq had delivered the litter of six dogs, each worth up to £2,000, by Caesarian.

Instead of leaving them to recover with their mum Lila, she and a colleague, Oscar Perez Maillo, both took a puppy home with them.

The second dog was later returned still alive after another worker with VetsNow raised concerns.

Rafiq was fired by VetsNow in Huyton, Merseyside, and a misconduct hearing by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons found her to be ‘dishonest’. However, she was cleared to practise again after six months.

‘I’m fuming,’ owner Safinah Mhagrh told the Daily Record. ‘That vet stole my puppy. It was a terrible, heartless thing to do. She should not be allowed to practise.’

Safinah had taken her three-year-old French bulldog Lila to surgery after she went into labour in December 2017.

‘The first one was coming out legs first and got stuck. I thought Lila was going to die,’ she said. She was told to go home while vets operated.

When she came back, she was told there had been a litter of four but the stuck one hadn’t survived. Another of the puppies then died as it was too weak, but Lila bonded with the remaining two.

Ms Mhagrh said she had contacted police but the case hadn’t been taken further. A hearing heard Rafiq was remorseful and not motivated by financial gain.

Panel chair Ian Arundel said: ‘The committee concluded Dr Rafiq was very unlikely to pose a risk to animals in future.’

VetsNow refunded the £200 cost for the Caesarian.

Dr Laura Playforth, head of veterinary standards at Vets Now said: ‘We are extremely sorry about what happened, especially to our client and their pets.

‘We are very clear on our position here – these individuals will not work with us again.

‘I want to reassure pet owners that this is an isolated incident. We have almost 600 vets and vet nurses working for us up and down the country, working tirelessly to help animals in their greatest time of need. In my 20 years as a vet, I’ve never seen anything like this case.’


Galston, East Ayrshire: John Hendrie Smith

#TheList vet John Hendrie Smith, born 20/05/1929, of Galston, East Ayrshire KA4 – left 200 dogs howling in agony as they died from an outdated euthanasia injection to the heart

Terminally ill German Shepherd Bounce howled in agony after being given a lethal injection by disgraced vet John Hendrie Smith from Galston
Terminally ill German Shepherd Bounce howled in agony for several minutes after being given a lethal injection by disgraced vet John Hendrie Smith from Galston

Hendrie Smith, who  has been a vet for nearly 65 years, was investigated after an owner complained. Shockingly, he was found to have used the controversial technique on hundreds of helpless animals at the Valley Veterinary Centre in Galston, Ayrshire.

The Times reports that Hendrie Smith routinely injected canines directly into their hearts causing “appalling pain”.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) were made aware of his technique when a dog owner complained to them after the vet had euthanised his dog.

Darren Stevenson said Bounce, his German Shepherd, had “screamed in agony” for minutes after the injection before dying.

When the RCVS investigated his complaint it found that Hendrie Smith, who qualified in 1953, had used the technique for years on more than 200 dogs.

The vet admitted than many animals wailed in agony before dying

Reports from the disciplinary enquiry record that Darren approached the vet for help with his terminally ill German Shepherd Bounce.

However when Hendrie Smith made a house call he had failed to bring a muzzle for the dog and instead tried to wrap a belt around Bounce’s mouth.

The vet also had to borrow some pliers from Stevenson to fix a syringe.

The needle was then inserted through the lung wall, a process likely to cause intense pain because of its dense nerve network.

Stevenson’s partner at the time Rachael McRoberts heard the dog scream.

She told the Times: “It was horrible. The dog was wailing for what seemed like ages.

“I’ve never heard a dog make a noise like that.”

The case raises questions over how the RCVS regulates vets and why an ageing practitioner, who qualified so long ago, had not been subject to checks and revalidation.

Under rules introduced about five years ago vets must do at least 35 hours a year of “professional development”, but this can range from formal courses to reading journals or “reflecting” on cases.

The RCVS advises vets: “It’s up to you to decide how best to fulfil your own learning needs” and says records need not be updated annually and are unlikely to be inspected.

The Sun
RCVS Disciplinary Committee hearing into John Hendrie Smith (automatic download)