A Leeds vet who was banned indefinitely from working with animals has had the disqualification suspended pending an appeal hearing in seven months time.
Gary Samuel, 49, was given a suspended jail sentence in March 2016 after he was found guilty of animal cruelty offences, but lodged an appeal against his conviction which was due to be considered at Bradford Crown Court today.
Instead, it was adjourned until January when it was discovered that the case, which involves expert evidence, was going to take longer than expected and no earlier date could be found.
Samuel was given a 12-week suspended jail sentence along with his former assistant and girlfriend Rochelle McEwan, 28, for cruelty offences.
Police had discovered 30 dogs and cats living in filthy conditions at the Armley Vets premises in Town Street.
Back in February 2015, RSPCA officers and police found a number of mainly Husky-type dogs being kept in a faeces-covered basement which was accessed by a trap door.
One cat had to be put to sleep after collapsing and four dogs were later put down on veterinary advice.
Samuel, of Western Road, Southall, Middlesex, and McEwan, of Town Street, Armley, were banned from keeping animals as part of their sentence and ordered to do unpaid work for the community.
After discussions about the estimated length of the appeal hearing as well as the availability of counsel and the magistrates, Recorder Felicity Davies confirmed that the six-day appeal would now be fixed to start in January 2018.
Samuel’s barrister, Sara-Lise Howe, then applied for her client’s disqualification to be suspended pending the appeal.
She pointed out that he was a man of previous good character, who had been a vet since 1996, and the ban was a “significant restraint of trade”.
Recorder Davies, who was sitting with two magistrates, said they would suspend the disqualification in view of the very considerable time that Samuel had waited for the appeal already and the unfortunate additional delay.
The judge said the case should be listed on January 29 with a seven-day slot to make absolutely certain that a further adjournment was not necessary because of a lack of time.
The court also suspended the ban on keeping animals which was imposed on McEwan at the time of her sentence last year.