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Disciplinary Committee deems vet nurse fit to practise following dangerous dog conviction

9 April 2024

Please note that this story contains references to the death of a child.

The RCVS Veterinary Nurse Disciplinary Committee has said that a Lincolnshire-based veterinary nurse is fit to practise after she was convicted of being in charge of a dangerously out of control dog, resulting in the death of her three-month-old daughter, Kyra.

The hearing for Ms Karen Marie Alcock RVN took place at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London, on Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 March.

Ms Alcock was convicted on 23 December 2022 at the Lincoln Crown Court, following a guilty plea of being the owner/person in charge of a dog dangerously out of control causing injury resulting in death.

The court heard that, on 6 March 2022, Ms Alcock and her partner had taken their dogs to Ostler Plantation at around 11pm to pull a racing sledge. Kyra was in her pram outside the van when one of the dogs named Blizzard escaped and mauled her. Kyra was pronounced dead at the scene.

In respect of the conviction, on 14 August 2023, Ms Alcock was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to undertake 80 hours of unpaid work.

During the sentencing of Ms Alcock, the Crown Court judge observed that on 7 December 2021, Ms Alcock gave birth to a very much wanted and loved baby. The judge noted that both Ms Alcock and her partner were experienced dog handlers and was satisfied that there was a tragic set of circumstances. The judge went on to note that Ms Alcock and her partner were both used to dogs and that the dog in question, Blizzard, was not a dog who had previously caused any concern. There was nothing to trigger her attack on the baby; but on this occasion she was dangerously out of control as demonstrated by the attack.

Having taken all evidence into account, as well as advice from the Legal Assessor who provides guidance on the law to all parties involved during a hearing, the Veterinary Nurse Disciplinary Committee did not consider the conviction rendered Ms Alcock unfit to practise. She was not caring for Blizzard in a professional capacity and the incident occurred outside of her practise as a veterinary nurse.

This news story is an outline of the hearing to help understand the case and the Committee's decision. The full documentation for the hearing can be found on our RCVS Disciplinary hearing webpage.

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