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A disgraced vet has been found guilty of helping a puppy farming gang con members of the public by faking health checks for sick and dying pets.

Daniel Doherty, of Iver Heath, ran two My Vet surgeries in nearby Uxbridge where he signed off paperwork – including fake vaccination cards and health checks – for thousands of puppies, even though he did not know where they were from.

The 49-year-old vet, from Wood Lane, faced a four-week trial at Isleworth Crown Court for conspiring with a gang of puppy dealers to commit fraud.

The charge said that Doherty, between December 1, 2013 and February 14, 2017, conspired to commit fraud by making false representations to members of the public for the purpose of selling puppies.

The representations were intended to disguise the fact that the puppies were imported or puppy farmed animals, by providing local health check and vaccination cards and false information that the puppy was the offspring of a family pet, home-bred, and socialised within a local family environment.

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The RSPCA gathered evidence that 4,689 puppies were taken to MyVet 24/7 by the gang between 23 March 23, 2011 and May 10, 2017 for their first vaccinations.

Vaccination cards said the puppies had been vaccinated against deadly viruses and diseases like parvovirus - which many of the puppies owned by witnesses in the trial had actually contracted –with some dying from the highly contagious viral disease.

Jurors also heard evidence that a past employee at MyVet 24/7 had raised concerns about Doherty and his practices.

Separately, one complaint, lodged with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons by a vet in Hertfordshire, raised concerns over the lack of information Doherty was including in the vaccination cards he was handing out.

Doherty pleaded not guilty and jurors heard evidence from Metropolitan Police officers, RSPCA investigators and members of the public who had purchased puppies from the gang. The jury’s guilty verdict was unanimous.

RSPCA inspector Kirsty Withnall, who led the investigation into Doherty’s involvement with the gang - nicknamed Operation Rivet - said: “This was a vet who should have known better and should have had the animals’ best interests at heart.

“But he was supplementing his income with fraudulent cash from the puppy trading gang who were making millions from selling sick and dying puppies to unsuspected members of the public.

“Doherty was knowingly signing off vaccination cards and veterinary paperwork for thousands of puppies in the gang members’ real names as well as approving the paperwork that was written out in their fake aliases.

“He was complicit and, if anything, aided their fraud because any buyers who purchased puppies from the gang may well have been comforted and reassured by the fact that the dog they were buying had paperwork to say it had already been to a vet for vaccinations and health checks.

“The problem is that the puppies had not been adequately checked so some were already harbouring illnesses by the time they were sold.

“Doherty offered the gang discounted vaccinations at just £16 per vaccine and flea/worming treatment so that works out at more than £75,000 in his pocket.”

He will appear at Isleworth Crown Court in May for sentencing.

Six others are due to appear in court for sentencing:

  • Simon O’Donnell, 30, previously of Bradenham Road, Hayes, will be sentenced after admitting one offence of conspiracy to commit fraud, three animal welfare offences and one offence of running a pet shop without a licence.
  • Margaret McDonagh, 27, previously of Bradenham Road, Hayes, will be sentenced having admitted three fraud offences.
  • Edward Stokes, 35, previously of Rosedale Avenue, Hayes, and later of Tenaplas Drive, Upper Basildon in Berkshire, will be sentenced having admitted one conspiracy to commit fraud offence and one animal welfare offence.
  • Thomas Stokes, 25, previously of Coldharbour Lane, Hayes, will be sentenced having pleaded guilty to one conspiracy to commit fraud offence and one animal welfare offence.
  • Thomas O’Donnell, 29, previously of Bedwell Gardens, Hayes, will be sentenced having previous admitted four offences of fraud and three animal welfare offences.
  • Mary Teresa Stokes, 34, previously of Rosedale Avenue, Hayes - was sentenced at a previous hearing at Isleworth Crown Court on September 7 last year having pleaded guilty to one offence of failing to meet the needs of dogs. Stokes - sister to Simon and Thomas O’Donnell - was sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge, disqualified from keeping dogs for five years, and ordered to pay £250 in costs.
  • Two further women were dealt with by way of adult written cautions and criminal behaviour orders.