An American couple whose beloved Pomeranian dog died after a visit to a vet were later horrified to discover the doctor who treated him is a convicted fraudster.
Jared Manhein and his partner Danielle, US citizens who live in Kensington in West London, had been on a weekend in the Cotswolds when their dog Rory began having breathing difficulties and rushed to the nearest after hours vet.
This was Dragon Vets in Cheltenham where Rory was seen by Matthew Morgan, 48, but to their shock – as their pet had been treated for the condition before – he ended up dying that night.
It was while they were investigating making a complaint to the practice about the death of their much-loved pet – who they had taken around the world on trips – that they uncovered Morgan’s criminal past.
Jared Manhein and his partner Danielle (pictured) were on a weekend trip in the Cotswolds when their dog Rory began having breathing difficulties
Matthew Morgan, 48, (pictured) had been jailed for two years at the Old Bailey for defrauding insurance companies out of £225,000 by inventing pets and giving them non-existent treatments
Rory was seen by the vet, 48, but to the couple’s shock – as their pet had been treated for the condition before – he ended up dying that night
He had been jailed for two years at the Old Bailey for defrauding insurance companies out of £225,000 by inventing pets and giving them non-existent treatments. He also had criminal convictions in his native Australia.
Jared, 42, who works in Private Equity, told MailOnline: ‘I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This was the vet to whom we’d entrusted our dog who we loved so much. Now our dog was dead and we were reading that he was a criminal.’
Danielle, 40, a lawyer turned property investor, said: ‘How could this man have been allowed to practise? How were people being asked to put their trust in him?’
Soon after Rory’s death their other dog, Pogo, who was 13 and also a Pomeranian died too – and the couple attribute his death to grief over his ‘brother’.
The couple’s trouble began late last November.
Jared said: ‘It was a tradition for us to go to the Cotswolds with our dogs, Rory and Pogo, and rent a cottage for every American Thanksgiving.
‘We are both US citizens, but based in London – primarily because of our dogs, and how pet-friendly, and what a great way of life they have in London versus New York.
Rory’s owners frequently took their beloved dog on trips around the world
They said: ‘We will never get over what happened’ after he died following difficulty breathing
‘We were at the cottage when Rory began to experience breathing difficulties in the evening. We weren’t too worried about this because he’d been treated for the condition successfully before by our vet in Kensington. .
‘But we didn’t want to take any chances so I was looking for the nearest vet that was open and came upon this practice Dragon in Cheltenham.
‘It was 45 minutes away and Rory didn’t deteriorate during the drive so we weren’t really concerned. But as soon as we got there it started to go wrong.
‘We told them exactly what the London emergency vet did a month and a half prior, and resulted in immediate responsiveness of our dog, allowing him to breathe again and therefore saving his life. Hours later, he was dead.’
The couple were devastated by the loss of Rory, who was 14 – but tragedy turned to anger as they began looking into the vet with a view to making a formal complaint.
They discovered that Morgan had appeared in court nine years earlier accused of using his expert knowledge to make fraudulent claims against insurance firms saying he owned the pets over the space of three years.
The vet, who then earned £100,00 a year before tax, then lavished the money on a new £25,000 BMW, flew twice a year back to his native Australia, stayed at expensive hotels and took luxury holidays. When arrested he had tickets to go to Euro Disney on Eurostar.When arrested he told detectives it had been ‘easy money.’
The couple were devastated by the loss of Rory, who was 14 – but tragedy turned to anger as they began looking into the vet with a view to making a formal complaint
It emerged that in his native Australia the vet had conviction for burglary and obtaining property by deception
Morgan who came to the UK in 2001 had already pocketed £198,000 from insurance companies and was awaiting the rest of the money when he was caught.
The father of three was jailed for two years after he admitted four counts of fraud from September 2009 to November 2012 which earned him £291,751
Father-of-three Morgan had used an official stamp and template from his employer North Kent Referrals in Chatham to make 54 claims against insurers Petplan, Petprotect, Direct Line and Sainsbury’s.
It then emerged that in his native Australia he had conviction for burglary and obtaining property by deception.
The couple have since repeatedly contacted both Dragon Vets and complained to regulatory bodies about Morgan being allowed to practise.
Jared said: ‘It took weeks for us even to find out what his full name was – and that was how we found out about his past.
‘We have struggled to get any reasonable response from the company and are now exploring legal options. And we are also in communication with other people who have contacted us to tell of their own experiences there.’
He went on: ‘The whole experience has been devastating for us. It was only a few weeks after Rory’s death that we lost Pogo too and both of us remain convinced that it was caused by his grief over losing his brother. He was a shell of himself after losing Rory.
Complaints by Mr Manhein had been investigated by industry regulator The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and he’d been found to have done nothing wrong
‘We will never get over what happened.’
Jared later wrote to Dragon: ‘Our dog we have had since we were in graduate school and love more than we love our own human family members is now dead.
‘His lifeless body is sitting at a strange vet in a town in the UK countryside that he has never even been to, and we must arrange to have his ashes shipped to us either in the states where we will now spend Christmas without him (he absolutely loves sitting in front of the fire and Christmas tree at an investment townhouse we have stateside and visit every Christmas), or to London to await our return mid next year. Words cannot express how devastated we are.’
Vet Dr Matthew Morgan said he could not discuss the case in detail because of client confidentiality and GDPR.
He admitted he had been to prison but said he had been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
Dr Morgan said from his Gloucestershire home last night: ‘It’s public knowledge that I’ve been to prison.
‘I made some mistakes which cost me my liberty and it’s taken a long time to rebuild my life. But we are 10 years down the track now.
‘There has never been any question about my clinical competence as a vet.’
Father-of-three Dr Morgan added that the complaints by Mr Manhein had been investigated by industry regulator The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and he’d been found to have done nothing wrong: ‘All I can say is the people made a complaint and it was found that there was no case to be answered.
‘It was felt nothing clinically was done wrong, that’s all I can say about the case without the permission of the owner.’
A spokesperson for the industry regulatory body, The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, said: “We can confirm that Mr Morgan is currently on the Register of Veterinary Surgeons. Matters are confidential unless or until they reach a hearing of the Disciplinary Committee, and we are therefore unable to comment further in order to maintain fairness to all parties.”
Dragon didn’t respond to requests for comment. A receptionist there confirmed he works as a night vet.