“What is Beauty?” considered in Dungloe courthouse

An interesting tale from the Donegal courts. A vet who set up a clinic in Bunbeg was denied certification by the veterinary authorities as the word “beauty” was in the clinic’s proposed name. Dungloe District Court evidently had jurisdiction:

The title of the practice is Animal Beauty and Care Clinic, but the VCI said the term beauty could be equated with some unacceptable cosmetic surgery taking place in the practice to modify an animal’s appearance, the court heard.

Mr Podiaru appealed the decision at Dungloe District Court against The Veterinary Council of Ireland, 53 Lansdowne Road, Dublin. His counsel Dean Regan said it was a case that centred on the definition of the word “beauty”.

Mr Regan said the VCI was suggesting that the word beauty meant trying to modify an animal’s appearance and was unethical. He said it was unreasonable to suggest that beauty was linked with some sort of mutilation of an animal.

Counsel for the VCI Hugh McDowell said that for the appeal to succeed it must be shown that the VCI erred in law or acted unreasonably.

President of the VCI Peadar O’Scannail told the court that “if ever a blade was taken to an animal to beautify it, that is a red line for the Veterinary Council”.

He said there were cases of dogs having their tails cut for cosmetic reasons and that was not allowed.

Mr O’Scannail said there was a danger that the public might draw an inference that something untoward was happening at the practice.

Obviously legal argument ensued to ensure nothing untoward would trouble the sensibilities of Gweedore folk:

Judge Paul Kelly read from some veterinary practices which provided for dog grooming. Among the services were “nail clipping” “paint on highlights” and “anal gland expressing”.

The judge wondered what was the difference between dog-grooming and beauty?

At one stage the Oxford Dictionary was produced, and the definition of beauty read out in court.

In a rather Solomon like decision, Judge Kelly found for Mr Polidaru but didn’t award costs as he could have engaged more with the VCI earlier. But that would have denied us the legal speculation on the nature of beauty outlined above.

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