THE RSPCA has chastised its Oxfordshire branch for boarding cats with a Witney vet who was later suspended for ‘disgraceful conduct’.

The national charity found the county trustees had not carried out an assessment of the vets before sending cats to stay there.

However, more than that, the RSPCA has said it would not give a boarding licence to a vets anyway. It has now launched a review of the branch’s procedures.

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The Oxfordshire branch failings came to light after former trustee Graeme Larkin made a series of official complaints to the charity about his ex-colleagues.

In a Facebook post last week, he reported that his branch had been investigated ‘following a number of complaints over standards and treatment of cats’.

He said the investigation found that one trustee had ‘caused unnecessary pain and suffering to cats entrusted to their care’ and ‘their actions had fallen below the standards expected of the RSPCA’.

The RSPCA has now said the investigation was not into standards of care at the branch, but that it ‘related to a service complaint’ made by Mr Larkin.

However, it has now concluded that ‘internal procedures had not been followed by the branch trustees when temporarily boarding cats’ at CornYard Veterinary Centre in Witney until January 2019.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Larkin said in his post – which the RSPCA has not endorsed – that one trustee had ‘persisted’ in using the vets ‘for their own convenience’ while the vet was under investigation by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

Sue Mulvey, the practice principal at the CornYard Veterinary Centre, was suspended from practicing for six months in May last year for ‘disgraceful conduct’.

Oxford Mail:

The sanctions related primarily to a cat named Spooky and a dog called Henry, who she failed to provide clinical notes for in 2016 and 2018 respectively.

An RCVS hearing in May was told how Mrs Mulvey, as CornYard’s sole practitioner, struggled to maintain professional standards due to her intense workload.

The trustees at RSPCA Oxfordshire decided to use CornYard to board cats despite the fact it had not been licensed or assessed by the RSPCA as required by national charity policy.

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The charity said: “All RSPCA branches are separately registered charities, with local committees responsible for managing them according to RSPCA standards.

“The complaints process established that internal procedures had not been followed by the branch trustees when boarding cats at a veterinary establishment.

“There has been no evidence that cats in the care of the branch suffered but it was found that conditions at the vets at that time were not appropriate for boarding purposes.

“As a result, an internal audit of the branch’s current intake, rehabilitation and rehoming procedures is taking place and any recommendations will be acted on.”