Scottish veterinary nurse deliberately poisoned her own pet dog

The vet has now been struck off. Picture: SSPCA
The vet has now been struck off. Picture: SSPCA
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A veterinary nurse who escaped a jail sentence after deliberately poisoning her dog has been struck off.

Georgina Bretman injected her black-and-white cocker spaniel with insulin in 2013, causing the animal to suffer hypoglycaemia, collapse, convulsions and seizures.

The two-year-old pup required immediate veterinary treatment to avoid falling into a coma and dying.

Bretman, who worked for Kinning Park-based Pets A&E, was convicted of causing the animal unnecessary suffering after a trial in Glasgow in 2017.

She was ordered to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work, and now the RCVS Veterinary Nurse Disciplinary Committee have struck her off the register.

Although no explanation was ever offered as to why the vet nurse had harmed her pet, the court was told that she was an "attention seeker."

When Bretman was sentenced in 2017, the Sheriff told her: "Florence was vulnerable and she depended on you.

"The motivation for you to cause Florence's suffering will never be known, as you did not shed any light on this when you spoke to social workers. You have shown no remorse.

The committee announced on May 20 their decision to remove Bretman's name from the register and prevent her from taking up employment in the sector.

In their decision report, they said: "The Committee recognised the impact this was likely to have on Miss Bretman, which was unfortunate given her young age and her obvious passion for a career as a veterinary nurse.

"However the need to protect animal welfare, the reputation of the profession and thus the wider public interest, outweighed Miss Bretman's interests and the Committee concluded that removal was the only appropriate and proportionate sanction in this case.

"The Committee determined that it was important that a clear message be sent that this sort of behaviour is wholly inappropriate and not to be tolerated. It brought discredit upon Miss Bretman and discredit upon the profession."

Bretman provided a written statement, together with a number of references and testimonials and also gave evidence to the Committee.

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In her evidence, she detailed how she grew up with a passion for animals and how all she ever wanted to do was work in the veterinary profession.

She spoke of attending university and graduating in 2011with an Upper Second Class Honours degree in Veterinary Nursing.

From there she went into a veterinary practice specialising in emergency work and animal rehabilitation.

She said she worked long shifts, but relished the opportunity to learn and progress, often working more than 100 hours a week.

But she described herself as content and happy in her work.

Bretman said she discovered a particular interest in the field of hydrotherapy and rehabilitation and obtained a British Small Animal Veterinary Association Veterinary Nurse (BSAVA VN) Merit Award in Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy from Cardiff University.

As far as she was aware she was the only veterinary nurse practising in Scotland at the time to hold such a qualification.

Bretman spoke about the devastating effect of this incident and the shame that was "brought down on her head."

She said she was suspended from her job, which she had hoped would be her life's career, less than two years out of university.

Bretman said that in the aftermath of her conviction she had tried hard to accept the verdict of the court.

But she felt that veterinary nursing was her "calling in life" and something that she was "meant to do."

She said that she had spent her whole life working towards helping animals, improving their lives and making sure they get the best possible care.

She added: "I miss working as a veterinary nurse more than I can say. It is my vocation. But I lost everything."

Following her suspension from work, Miss Bretman said she had to sell her flat and move back in with her parents.

She had not worked as a veterinary nurse following her conviction, instead, working as a waitress, but very much wanted to return to working with animals.

She said she had kept her registration as an RVN up to date, hoping that she might be allowed to return.

Bretman accepted that the offence she had been convicted of was very serious, particularly for a veterinary nurse.

She said she had carried out all her unpaid work and completed her community sentence.

What she really wanted to be able to do was to rebuild the career for which she had such a passion.

The Scottish SPCA told has welcomed the decision.

Chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: "Bretman caused deliberate distress and suffering to her dog, Florence.

"We are glad this case has been taken seriously by RCSV and this decision has been made."