Veterinary teams that found themselves in riot zones when trouble flared in many English towns and cities this week followed police advice and temporarily closed clinics in order to protect staff, clients and patients.

Veterinary teams that found themselves in riot zones when trouble flared in many English towns and cities this week temporarily closed clinics in order to to protect staff, clients and patients from marauding mobs and arsonists.

Croydon Riots 2011 By Raymond Yau (Flickr: Croydon Riots 2011) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsA peaceful protest in Tottenham on August 6, two days after the death of Mark Duggan, was followed by rioting, arson and looting in the London borough. The criminality then spread to other boroughs, towns and cities, with many buildings being looted and torched. Five men died after sustaining injuries in riot flashpoints.

Police advised veterinary clinics in affected areas to close to protect staff and clients from mobs. However, despite the proximity of numerous practices to riots and arson attacks, vetsonline has received no reports of staff being injured or vet practices burned.

However, it has been confirmed that some PDSA charity shops were targeted by looters and premises damaged by vandals.

Philip GoddardGoddard Veterinary Group has numerous practices in the London area, including Tottenham, Hackney, Brixton and Enfield, where rioting and looting was extensive.

Explaining how his organisation responded to the unrest, group principal Philip Goddard said: “The police were very good, they were very helpful in letting us know where the trouble hotspots were. Community officers came along and told business there was going to be trouble so we shut branches where necessary.

“If our vets were thinking of keeping an animal overnight we transferred it to hospital or the odd vet took an animal home, with the permission of owners, if they wanted to keep it on a drip under observation.”

Medivet, which has numerous surgeries in London and the surrounding areas, closed a branch in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, early on August 8 to protect staff and patients. Managing partner Arnold Levy said: “I am absolutely horrified at the damage that is being done and the ease with which the perpetrators seem to be able to operate.”


  • For more extensive coverage of the impact of the rioting on veterinary staff and the animal welfare sector see next week’s edition of Veterinary Times.
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