The RCVS Disciplinary Committee has directed the Registrar to remove Greater Manchester-based Viktor Molnar from the Register after he pleaded guilty to illegally importing puppies to the UK.

Mr Molnar had been convicted at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court in March 2018 of five counts of importing puppies to the UK in contravention of the Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and other Mammals) Order 1974.

At that court hearing he also pleaded guilty to one count of keeping premises as a pet shop without the authority of a licence granted by a local authority.

As a result of his conviction Mr Molnar was sentenced to 270 hours of unpaid supervised work and was ordered to pay compensation of £2,683.93 and costs of £250.

The Committee, which proceeded with the hearing in Mr Molnar’s absence, found that the RCVS charges against Mr Molnar were proven and went on to consider whether, individually and cumulatively, they resulted in Mr Molnar being unfit to practice being a veterinary surgeon.

Ian Green, chairing the Committee and speaking on its behalf, said: "The Committee accepts the College’s submission that the fact that they [the puppies] were imported contrary to the law of the UK, because they were underage and had not been properly vaccinated, undermines the integrity of a system which is designed to ensure that effective vaccination and precautions against disease take place in every case.

"The Committee also notes that the convictions in this case were directly linked to the respondent’s veterinary practice, as they related to animals sold from his veterinary practice address. By operating an unlicensed pet shop, and by doing so through an email address that referred to his occupation as a veterinary surgeon, the respondent was abusing his position as a veterinary surgeon, and acting in a way that was liable to undermine the reputation of the profession."

The Committee therefore found that, because Mr Molnar’s conviction was directly linked to his veterinary practice and posed a substantial risk to animal welfare and public health, his conviction meant his conduct fell far short of what was expected of a professional.

In considering the sanction for Mr Molnar the Committee considered that, while he had no previous convictions or adverse professional findings against him, the case against him was very serious "because of the risk of serious harm both to animals and the public, as well as being for financial gain."

Ian Green said: "The Committee considered that the respondent, as a veterinary surgeon, must have known the serious implications and consequences of what he was doing by importing these puppies unlawfully. The public should expect to be able to trust a veterinary surgeon to ensure that his conduct does not put at risk the health of both animals and humans."

Mr Green added that the Committee felt that the only appropriate sanction was to direct the Registrar to remove Mr Molnar’s name from the Register.