State Summary Report

 Sanctions for unauthorized practice of veterinary medicine

Updated September 2011

This is a summary of the statutory and regulatory provisions identified by AVMA research pertaining to the unauthorized practice of veterinary medicine across the 50 states. Note that there are four states with felony penalties for the unauthorized practice of veterinary medicine: Florida, Michigan, New York and Nevada. The majority of states provide only a misdemeanor penalty for unauthorized practice and most states have provisions allowing for injunctions, cease and desist orders and monetary fines.

State Actions/Penalties
Alabama
  • Citation.
  • Misdemeanor.
  • Fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500), but no more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or imprisonment for no more than 90 days, or both. Each act of unlawful practice shall constitute a distinct and separate offense. The person, in the discretion of the judge, may be imprisoned or placed at hard labor for a maximum of 6 months.
Alaska
  • Class B misdemeanor.
  • Citation.
Arizona
  • Cease and desist order.
  • Request the county attorney or attorney general to file criminal charges against the person.
  • File an action in the superior court to enjoin the person from engaging in the unlicensed practice of veterinary medicine.
  • Impose a civil penalty of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each violation.
Arkansas
  • Citation. Such citation may contain an order of abatement fixing a reasonable time for abatement of the violation and may contain an assessment of a civil penalty not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000).
  • Board may institute legal proceedings to enjoin the violation of the provisions of this chapter or the rules of the Board in any court of competent jurisdiction, and the court may grant a temporary or permanent injunction restraining the violation thereof.
California
  • Citation.
  • Cease and desist order.
  • Violations ranging from A to C, varying in monetary penalties from fifty dollars ($50.) to one thousand dollars ($1,500.).
Colorado
  • Fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100.) and nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.) for any violation.
  • Cease and desist order.
Connecticut
  • Civil penalty of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000.).
Delaware
  • Fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500.), but no more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.) for each offense, and the offender shall pay all costs. Each day a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense.
District of Columbia
  • Order enjoining unlawful practice
  • Injunction, restraining order, or other orders as appropriate.
Florida
  • Felony.
Georgia
  • First conviction - fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) for each offense.
  • Second or subsequent conviction - fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each offense, imprisonment for not more than 12 months, or both fine and imprisonment.
  • Any citizen may file suit in court to enjoin unlawful practice and a court may enter a restraining order.
Hawaii
  • Five thousand dollars ($5,000.) for each violation.
Idaho
  • Civil penalty by the Board or its duly authorized agent of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000.) for each offense and liability for investigatory expenses and reasonable paralegal and attorney's fees, and provided that each act on each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense.
  • Assessment of a civil penalty may be made in conjunction with any other board administrative action.
Illinois
  • Civil penalty to the Department in an amount not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000.) for each offense.
Indiana
  • Class A misdemeanor.
  • Injunction.
Iowa
  • Enjoin the practice.
  • Deemed fraudulent practice.
Kansas
  • Misdemeanor.
  • Fine of not less than two hundred-fifty dollars ($250.), but no more than two thousand dollars ($2,000.) or imprisonment for no more than 90 days, or both.
Kentucky
  • Board may seek injunctive relief in Franklin Circuit Court to stop the unlawful practice of veterinary medicine by unlicensed persons.
Louisiana
  • Misdemeanor.
  • Fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50.), but no more than five hundred dollars ($500.), or imprisonment for no more than 90 days, or both. Each act of unlawful practice shall constitute a distinct and separate offense.
Maine
  • Class E crime.
  • Second criminal conviction is a Class D crime.
  • Punishable by a minimum fine of one hundred dollars ($100) and a maximum fine of two thousand dollars ($2,000.) for each violation
  • The Attorney General may bring an action to enjoin any person from practicing without a license. A maximum ten thousand dollar ($10,000.) fine will apply to each violation of an injunction.
Maryland
  • Fines up to five thousand dollars ($5,000.).
  • Injunction.
Massachusetts
  • First conviction - fine of not more than two hundred dollars ($200.) or imprisonment for no more than 90 days.
  • Subsequent conviction - fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500.) or imprisonment for no more than 6 months, or both.
Michigan
  • Felony.
Minnesota
  • Gross misdemeanor.
Mississippi
  • Misdemeanor.
  • Fine of no more than five hundred dollars ($500.00), but not less than one hundred dollars ($100.) per violation. Each act of such unlawful practice constitutes a distinct and separate offense.
Missouri
  • Class A misdemeanor for each offense.
  • Injunction, restraining order.
Montana
  • Misdemeanor for each violation of the provisions of this chapter or for each act relating to the practice of veterinary medicine in this state.
  • Fine of not less than two hundred dollars ($200.), but no more than five hundred dollars ($500.), or imprisonment in the county jail for no less than 30 days with a maximum of 6 months, or by both fine and imprisonment.
  • Injunction.
Nebraska
  • Injunction.
  • Class III misdemeanor.
Nevada
  • D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.
  • Injunction.
New Hampshire
  • Civil penalties assessed by the board in the amount of two thousand dollars ($2,000.) per violation, or, in the case of continuing violations, two hundred dollars ($200.) for each day the violation continues.
  • Injunction.
New Jersey
  • Injunction.
  • First violation - civil penalty of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000.)
  • Second and subsequent violation - civil penalty of no more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.).
New Mexico
  • Misdemeanor.
  • Injunction.
New York
  • Class E felony.
North Carolina
  • Class 1 misdemeanor.
North Dakota
  • Injunction.
  • Class B misdemeanor.
Ohio
  • First offense - misdemeanor of the second degree.
  • Each subsequent offense - misdemeanor of the first degree and fine of no more than two thousand dollars ($2,000.).
Oklahoma
  • Misdemeanor
  • Fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500.00), but no more than two thousand five thousand dollars ($5,000.00), or imprisonment in the county jail for a term not more than 6 months, or by both fine and imprisonment.
Oregon
  • Class a misdemeanor.
  • Civil penalty not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000.) for each violation.
Pennsylvania
  • Misdemeanor of the third degree
  • First offense - fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000.) or imprisonment for not more than 6 months or both.
  • Second offense - fine not to exceed two thousand dollars ($2,000.) or imprisonment for a term of 6months to 1 year or both.
Rhode Island
  • Misdemeanor.
  • First offense - fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000.), or imprisonment not exceeding 3 years.
  • Second offense - fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000.), nor imprisonment exceeding 5 years, or both fine and imprisonment.
South Carolina
  • Cease and desist order.
  • Restraining order.
South Dakota
  • Class 2 misdemeanor.
  • Injunction.
Tennessee
  • Class B misdemeanor for each instance of such practice.
Texas
  • Civil penalty of one thousand dollars ($1,000.) for each day of violation.
  • Injunction, cease and desist order.
  • Class A misdemeanor.
Utah
  • Cease and desist order.
  • Class A misdemeanor.
  • If any written order issued under this title or if an injunction or temporary restraining order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction relating to this title is violated, the court may impose a civil penalty of not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000.) for each day the written order, injunction, or temporary restraining order is violated, if the person in violation has received notice of the written order, injunction, or temporary restraining order.
Vermont
  • Fine of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000.) or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.
  • Discipline against an applicant may also include a warning, a reprimand, suspension of a license for a specific period of time or permanent revocation or denial of license.
Virginia
  • Class 1 misdemeanor
Washington
  • Misdemeanor and punishable by fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50.).
West Virginia
  • Misdemeanor.
  • Fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50.) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500.), or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both by such fine and imprisonment. Each act of such unlawful practice shall constitute a distinct and separate offense.
Wisconsin
  • First offense - fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.).
  • Second and subsequent offenses - (within 3 years) fine of not more than three thousand dollars ($3,000.).
Wyoming
  • Misdemeanor.
  • First offense - fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100.), or imprisonment for no more than 90 days, or both fine and imprisonment; provided that each act of such unlawful practice shall constitute a distinct and separate offense.
  • Injunction.

Source:    Staff research, AVMA State Legislative and Regulatory Department
Contact:  Tara Southwell, AVMA State Legislative and Regulatory Department, 847-285-6779.