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Friday, May 25, 2012

British Farrier Banned for 90 Days for Damaging Former Client's Horses

A farrier in England has faced two prosecutions for professional misconduct after he was found to have crudely remove one front shoe from each of two event horses owned by a former client.

In court for criminal damages, the farrier "was convicted of cutting the shoes off both animals other than in the ordinary course of farriery, which damaged them" according to a local newspaper account, which included photos of one of the feet and said that the shoes were removed on two occasions, two weeks apart. Apparently he received a suspended sentence and paid compensation of about $500US.

The second prosecution was by the Disciplinary Committee of the Farriers Registration Council, the British government agency charged with enforcement of the Farriers Registration Act, and which found the farrier guilty of serious professional misconduct and suspended him from the Register of Farriers for three months.

For accuracy, the text that follows is from a transcript from the Farriers Registration Council, with names removed.

The farrier, who been in the Register since October 1983, appeared at the Hearing to answer the following charges:

Damage to the hoof wall of one of the horses in the case; one front shoe from each horse was cut off the foot, two weeks apart. Photo from
1. (a) On 21 July 2011, at the Cheltenham Magistrates Court, you were convicted of criminal damage on 23 February 2011 to the front left hoof of a horse named Arron, intending to destroy or damage such property or being reckless as to whether such property would be destroyed or damaged, contrary to sections 1 (1) and 4 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971, for which offense you were discharged conditionally for 12 months and ordered to pay compensation in the sum of £220.80 and costs in the sum of £85.00.

 2. On 23 February 2011 the criminal damage referred to in paragraph 1 above was such that: (a) you removed a shoe from the front left hoof of Arron without the consent of (the owner), knowing that you were doing so without such consent; and/or (b) you removed the shoe by cutting it off; and/or (c) you removed the shoe other than in the ordinary course of farriery; and/or (d) you caused damage to Arron; and/or (e) you caused unnecessary suffering to Arron.

 3. On 7 February 2011 you removed the shoe from a horse named Eric belonging to (the same owner) and in doing so: (a) you removed the shoe without the consent of the owner, knowing that you were doing so without such consent; and/or (b) you removed the shoe by cutting it off; and/or (c) you removed the shoe other than in the ordinary course of farriery; and/or (d) you caused damage to Eric; and/or (e) you caused unnecessary suffering to Eric.

A veterinary surgeon who had attended Arron confirmed the damage to the horses' hooves would have caused both horses pain on walking and unnecessary suffering. The horses required specialist farriery care over many months following the incidents; for Arron this is still ongoing.

The FRC's attorney submitted that “…the Respondent's conduct fell far below expected standards. Causing damage and unnecessary suffering to horses’ breaches the most fundamental principle of farriery...

...In addition, the horses were no longer under the Respondent's care and there was no reason for him to be with the horses: the Council would submit that this behavior must have been pre-meditated.

...The Council would further submit that the damage was an abuse of the Respondent's position, as it made improper use of his professional skills and abilities as a farrier.”

The farrier showed remorse for his actions, admitted all the facts outlined above and that they amounted to serious professional misconduct but offered no explanation.

After full consideration of the facts, the Committee found him guilty of serious misconduct in a professional respect and directed that he should be suspended from the Register for a period of 3 months.

Speaking on behalf of the Committee the Chairman stated: “….Your actions failed to uphold the good reputation of the farriery profession or to show you as honest and trustworthy. Finally, doing this shows a complete failure to comply with your legal obligations...

"…If we thought that your behavior stemmed from an indifference to the suffering which you have caused to the horses, we would have no hesitation in instructing the Registrar to remove your name from the Register. We have, however, seen your genuine sadness, your humiliation and remorse concerning what you have done. We do not expect that there will be any repeat of such actions in the future.”

The farrier's suspension took effect on Thursday 24 May. It will be illegal for him to practice farriery during that interval and to do so will be a criminal offense. He is still subject to a conditional discharge following the magistrates hearing on 21 July 2011.

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1 comment:

Vaughans said...

It's good that this farrier was punished for doing such a bad job with his farrier tools - it's not acceptable.