A bogus vet who stole a legitimate practitioner’s identity in order to work has been jailed for three years.
Peter Keniry, of Cross Lane, Purton Stoke, Swindon, admitted one count each of fraud and practising as a vet without being registered. He was sentenced at Taunton Crown Court today (17 October).
The 59-year-old was described as a “threat to animal health and welfare” by Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) registrar Eleanor Ferguson.
An RCVS spokesman said the college was alerted to the fact Keniry, who has previous convictions for similar offences, was working at a practice in Taunton, Somerset, this year. The RCVS had released his name and picture in July to warn prospective employers, saying he had previously worked in large and small animal practices.
“Within 24 hours, [RCVS chief investigator] Michael Hepper reported this to Avon & Somerset Police and attended the practice with officers to assist in Mr Keniry’s identification and arrest,” the spokesman added.
Ms Ferguson thanked the vet who told the RCVS of her suspicions, and Mr Hepper and police for their actions.
“Mr Keniry was known to the RCVS as we have assisted in previous police investigations into him for similar offences,” she added. “As with recent cases, Mr Keniry impersonated a legitimate member of the veterinary profession using fraudulent documentation and this is why we have previously published photographs of him to raise awareness with veterinary practices and to try and stop him being employed in the future.
“We believe that Mr Keniry is a threat to animal health and welfare. He is a repeat offender and so we are glad that he has been handed a significant custodial sentence.”
Ms Ferguson urged veterinary practices to be vigilant, such as by contacting the RCVS’s registration department to make checks and asking to see supporting identity documents.
“For members of the public we recommend that, if they have concerns about the legitimacy of their veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurses, they talk to someone else in the practice about their concerns or contact us so that we can make further enquiries,” she added.
“Members of the public can also check on the status of veterinary professionals using our Find a Vet search tool.
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“We would like to emphasise that cases such as that of Peter Keniry are, in our experience, extremely rare. There are around 23,000 veterinary surgeons registered to practise in the UK who are fully trained professionals dedicated to upholding and improving the health and welfare of animals under their care. We don’t believe that the unprecedented actions of this one fraudulent individual should in any way undermine the confidence and trust that animal owners place in their veterinary team.”
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