A British veterinarian was handed a jail sentence alongside two horse agents for conspiracy to commit fraud this week. Veterinarian David Smith, 66, formerly of Lakeview Veterinary Centre in Capel Le Ferne, was found guilty last month along with agents Aniela Jurecka, 28, of Tonbridge and Charlotte Johnson, 28, of Sandling. Prosecutors say the trio lied about the horses' conditions, defrauding purchasers and placing buyers in potential danger. The Maidstone Crown Court sentenced all three to two and a half years in jail, according to Horse & Hound.
Jurecka and Johnson are believed to have drugged horses before showing them to potential buyers, either to hide medical issues or behavioral problems, and would send clients to Smith, who would present the horse in question with a clean bill of health. Investigators found that Smith also kept poor records, particularly surrounding his stock of Modecate, a long-acting sedative, which Jurecka has requested from him via text message.
Detective Constable Tracey Brightman, officer in charge of the case, said at the fraud trial that in Smith's case, the behavior not only qualified as criminal, but also a disregard of the veterinary oath. Brightman said that in a few cases, horses turned out to be so injured after their sale that they hd to be euthanized, causing further distress to their purchasers.
The sentencing judge said that the trio's actions likely shook the public perception of the sales process and trust in the veterinary and sales professions.
Read more at Horse & Hound
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