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Hendrie Smith, born 20/05/1929, of Galston, East Ayrshire KA4 – left 200 dogs howling in agony as they died from an outdated euthanasia injection to the heart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

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