State Legislative Update March 2013

State Legislative Update
Prepared by Department of State Legislative and Regulatory Affairs
AVMA Communications Division
March 15, 2013
State Legislative Update March 2013
In one of the first signed bills of 2013, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law SB 828, making various changes to the state’s law governing dangerous and vicious dogs. The revised statute continues to state that no canine or canine crossbreed may be found to be a vicious dog solely because of its particular breed, nor may a local government prohibit ownership of a particular breed of canine or canine crossbreed.
​In a significant signing, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker approved AB 3, which exempts licensed veterinarians from the requirements of the state’s prescription drug monitoring program.

Legislatures around the country are still busy considering a variety of measures. Here is a sampling of recently-introduced bills:

• Colorado HB 1231 and Illinois HB 2699 would prohibit routine practice of docking the tail of any dairy cattle unless performed by a veterinarian for a therapeutic purpose with anesthesia.
• District of Columbia B 127 would create a prescription drug monitoring program, with veterinarians included in the definition of practitioner.
• Kentucky HB 364 would require animal shelters to adopt animal control and care standards, and prohibit euthanasia by gas or decompression chamber as a routine method of euthanasia in animal shelters.
• Maine LD 395 would allow a pet owner to collect non-economic damages for the death of a pet under certain circumstances.
• Massachusetts HB 1578 would provide that any veterinarian who treats an animal in a veterinary hospital or clinic shall scan the animal for a microchip.
• Minnesota SF 1081, HF 1208 would provide guidance on circumstances when compounding is appropriate.
• Minnesota HF 1290 and SF 1285 would prohibit nontherapeutic use of an antimicrobial agent in food-producing animals.
• Nevada AB 110 would revise provisions concerning dangerous or vicious dogs and provides that such a determination may not be made solely on the breed of the dog.
• Ohio HB 59 would enact a sales tax on companion animal and equine veterinary services.
• Oklahoma SB 375 and HB 1999 would revoke the state's law that prohibits horse slaughtering or the sale of horse meat in the state.
• Pennsylvania SB 628 would provide for liability for the intentional or negligent killing of a pet by another, including non-economic damages, with limits for loss of reasonable expected society, companionship, love and affection of the pet in negligence cases.,
• Rhode Island H 5431 would expand the definition of a guardian that has the same rights and responsibilities of an owner to include an animal welfare or animal rights group incorporated in the state.
• Texas HB 2656 would restrict private postsecondary educational institutions, including veterinary schools, if they are incorporated or organized outside the U.S. and impairs availability of professional learning opportunities to graduates of other professional schools in the state. 
• Texas SB 1312 would create a regulatory mechanism for licensed veterinary technicians, certified veterinary assistants and veterinary assistants.
• Vermont HB 342 would make a person who commits animal cruelty by intentionally killing a domesticated dog or cat belonging to another person liable to the deceased pet’s owner for noneconomic damages for emotional distress resulting from the loss of the reasonably expected companionship, love and affection of the pet.
• Vermont HB 347 would amend the definition of the practice of veterinary medicine to include performing a dental operation on an animal, as defined.
• West Virginia SB 466 would regulate ownership of wild and dangerous animals.

Regulatory update

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals issued regulations to implement the state’s Pharmacy Practice Act and its prescription monitoring program. The rules include veterinarians as reporting dispensers, except for those who dispense negligible amounts of controlled substances or drugs of concern, as identified by rule.

In Ohio, the Department of Agriculture’s Animal Industry Division approved rules regulating care, housing, and caging standards for wild and dangerous animals, as defined by statute. These animals must be monitored regularly for evidence of disease, injury and parasites, and corrective measures under veterinary guidance must be taken when such evidence is found.

Court watch

In Missouri Veterinary Medical Board v. Brooke Rene Gray and B&B Equine Dentistry, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District upheld a circuit court’s judgment enjoining and prohibiting the defendant from performing equine tooth floating or any other act constituting the practice of veterinary medicine. The defendant is the owner and sole proprietor of an unincorporated business called B&B Equine Dentistry. The defendant is not licensed as a veterinarian, and her business is not licensed as a veterinary facility. She was engaging in the service of equine tooth floating for compensation. The court found that the state has a legitimate interest in establishing a high level of competence for individuals who practice veterinary medicine, and the defendant had not met the proper statutory requirements for such practice and did not fall within any statutory exceptions. The court rejected the argument that the state has no rational basis for taking action against non-veterinarian tooth floaters while declining to take action against non-veterinarian farriers. 

AVMA updates euthanasia guidelines

The AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals, incorporated or referenced in several state laws, have been revised and may be accessed as a PDF file on the AVMA website.  Originally published in 1963 and updated at least once every 10 years, the Guidelines are designed for use by veterinarians who carry out or oversee the euthanasia of animals.

More than three years of deliberation by more than 60 individuals, including veterinarians, animal scientists, behaviorists, psychologists and an animal ethicist, resulted in the commentary and recommendations in the 2013 edition of the Guidelines.

Changes to the Guidelines for 2013 include:

• More breadth and depth of expertise in the affected species and environments in which euthanasia is performed;
• Expansion of previous species-specific sections;
• Euthanasia methods for invertebrates and other lower-order species;
• Recommendations regarding collection of animals for scientific investigations, euthanasia of injured or diseased wildlife, and removal of animals causing damage to property or threatening human safety;
• Additional information about the handling of animals before and during euthanasia;
• Additional information about confirmation of death and disposal of animal remains; and
• Flowcharts, illustrations, tables and appendices used to clarify recommendations.
In previous editions of the guidelines, the use of carbon monoxide (CO) or carbon dioxide (CO2) gas was considered “acceptable” for euthanasia of dogs and cats. In the 2013 Guidelines, the classification for use of these gases has been changed to “acceptable with conditions.” For more on this topic, see the article at AVMA@Work.

Eleven states issue veterinary recognitions

After Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal kicked off the state gubernatorial proclamations celebrating 2013 as the year of the veterinarian in honor of AVMA's 150th birthday, the AVMA also received signed proclamations from Gov. Maggie Hassan (New Hampshire), Susana Martinez (New Mexico), Mary Fallin (Oklahoma), Gov. Lincoln Chafee (Rhode Island) and Gov. Scott Walker (Wisconsin). Governors Rick Scott (Florida), Steve Bullock (Montana) and Paul LePage (Maine) issued letters praising the contributions of veterinarians and encouraging residents in their states to acknowledge veterinarians during this special year.

In addition, the Iowa House of Representatives issued Resolution 16, expressing deep appreciation for the contributions that the veterinary profession and the AVMA have made and continue to make to animal health, public health, animal welfare, and food safety in Iowa.

AVMA appreciates the assistance of state veterinary medical associations in obtaining the proclamations and letters.

The link at the top or bottom of this page will take you to the latest chart of significant pending bills and regulations from around the country.     
State Legislative Update March 2013