Former vet fined €30k over unauthorised possession of animal medicines

A FORMER vet has been fined €30,000 after he pleaded guilty to possessing a range of animal medicines without authorisation.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food brought 26 charges against Laurence Greene, aged 72, from Ivy Nook, Roscrea, Co Tipperary, following a search of his home on November 26, 2008.

He pleaded guilty at Nenagh District Court to six charges under the 1993 Animal Remedies Act.

The court heard evidence from Brian Kilgallen, a veterinary inspector with the department, who found a range of animal medicines in the former vet’s home.

They included Propan B, an unauthorised injectable muscle relaxant & along with an animal antibiotic that was authorised but for which Greene had no prescription.

The inspector also found the antibiotic Gentaject 10% and Promone-E, a hormone used for the regulation of heat and fertility in dogs, neither of which the defendant had a prescription for.

The search also revealed a quantity of Pentobarbital, a euthanasia chemical used for putting down animals, the package label of which had been altered without authorisation from the Irish Medicines Board.

Mr Kilgallen said the label had been partly removed, obscuring warning details concerning the substance.

Asked by Donnchadh McCarthy, prosecuting, whether the label could have “rotted off over time,” the inspector gave his opinion the label had been “removed”.

Mr Kilgallen also found a quantity of the painkiller, anti-inflammatory and analgesic, Ketoprofen, the label of which had also been altered.

Judge Mary Martin was told Greene was no longer a registered veterinary practitioner.

John Peart, defending, described Greene as someone “who used to be a well-to-do vet over the years” who then got himself into some controversy with the Irish Veterinary Council.

He had some land and was of independent means, the court heard.

Judge Martin said the courts took a “very serious” view of the offences described. She convicted and fined Greene €5,000 in respect of each charge and awarded witness expenses of €1,500 to the department.

The judge also ordered the defendant’s premises be cleared of all substances of a medical nature, prescribed or non-prescribed, other than those for his own medical needs. She directed that all seized medicines be destroyed.

Leave to appeal was granted.

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