A WIRRAL vet who said he “took his eye off the ball” because a dog owner “got on his nerves” has been struck off.
Les Higgott was removed from the veterinary register at a hearing of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons last week.
His conduct was described as “almost as far distant from the standards properly to be expected of a competent veterinarian as it is possible to conceive”.
The RCVS committee heard that while treating Patricia Cook’s dog Fliss at the Poulton Road practice last June, her pet was kept in a urine-soaked, faeces-encrusted box.
When she complained, Higgott told her: “I’ve never certified a cause of death as dog s*** and wee.”
The committee heard how on one occasion when Mrs Cook visited the Poulton Road practice, Higgott refused to let her in, saying: “You were only here yesterday.”
When she went to the back of the premises to check on Fliss, she found she was dead. Mrs Cook told Higgott but he argued she was mistaken, until he checked the body.
The hearing found Higgott guilty of “disgraceful conduct in a professional respect”.
In a written verdict, the committee said: “The circumstances prevailing in this case resulted in the dog Fliss suffering in conditions of absolute squalor. The committee was of the view that the respondent’s conduct was likely to undermine public confidence in the veterinary profession and did bring the profession into disrepute.
“It is for those reasons, and not without a heavy heart, the committee concluded the only proper sanction to impose in this case is the ultimate sanction of removal of the respondent’s name from the register.
“It is aware of the very significant, if not devastating, effect this will have upon the respondent’s ability to sell his practice and of the other financial consequences that may follow.”
Higgott had denied a string of charges relating to his record-keeping, professional development, and treatment of Fliss and Mrs Cook.
The RCVS acknowledged it had heard descriptions of “a generous and caring man, who had sought to care for animals all of his working life and often did not charge for work that he undertook for clients”.