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Wyoming considers revisions to its Veterinary Practice Act

Alaina Mousel, Editor

A draft bill has been sent to committee members of the Wyoming joint Agriculture, State and Public Lands and Water Resources interim committee that would amend definitions relating to the practice of veterinarian medicine.

Included in the language defining vet practices would be: artificial insemination; equine dentistry; embryo transplant; massage therapy; chiropractic therapy; acupuncture; and orthopedic malfunction.

The draft also provides exceptions for emergency veterinary care and continuing education. Increased penalties for violations to the Veterinary Practice Act are also proposed, upping fines from $100 to $750 and jail time from 90 days to six months.

If passed, these rules would go into effect immediately.

The committee meets Monday, Oct. 4 and 5, in Buffalo, WY, at the Hampton Inn beginning at 8 a.m.

Bill draft 11LSO-0812.W5 – Wyoming Veterinary Medical Practice Act-2 is on the agenda to be presented by Dr. Jim Summers at 4:15 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 4.

Summers, who is president of the Wyoming Board of Veterinary Medicine said, “We feel it is a consumer protection and animal protection act, and that’s what we needed to dwell on.”

Their first draft of the bill, when presented to veterinary practitioners, got mixed reactions, Summers said. In that version all of the auxiliary disciplines, such as chiropractic, acupuncture and animal massage, were defined and placed under the Wyoming Board of Veterinary Medicine for evaluating their education, calling for continuing education to maintain a permit and to provide the public a place to file a complaint that would be investigated. Practitioners thought the proposal opened the door to let anyone do what they wanted. So Summers and the committee went back to the drawing board.

“It’s a consumer protection act. If chiropractors or equine massage therapists work on an animal, they should have some oversight – which we provide for veterinarians,” he said. “The owner has the ability to make a complaint. They can be investigated just like a veterinarian does now. If they kill a horse or something, there’s civil action they can pursue, where they don’t now.”

In the version to be presented to the Committee the Article calling for a permit for auxiliary disciplines is struck and the definition of “practice of veterinary medicine” is updated.

Representative Sue Wallis, a rancher from Recluse, WY (District 52) and committee member, sent out an action alert regarding the bill. “I am alarmed by this attempt at regulatory over reach, and generally opposed to any kind of licensing ‘fence out’ strategies to eliminate competition and drive up costs for producers and livestock owners,” the alert said.

In a follow-up interview, Wallis said, “I’m getting the distinct impression that there isn’t a lot of support for this legislation, even among the veterinarians.” She noted the shortage of large animal veterinarians in Wyoming. “Those equine dentists and chiropractics – they’re really specialists.”

Wallis said she is opposed to the bill and questions if there is a real human safety component fueling the changes. “I think it’s much better to let the market work out these things,” she said.

Contact information for the joint Agriculture, State and Public Lands, and Water Resources Interim Committee: Senator Gerald Geis, Chairman, 307-347-6443, ggeis@wyoming.com; Senator Eli Bebout, 307-856-0375, senbebout@wyoming.com; Senator James E. Elliott, Jr., 307-326-3039, jelliott@wyoming.com; Senator Kit Jennings, 307-265-5500, kit@kitsenate.com; Senator Wayne Johnson, 307-635-2181, wajohnsonsd6@yahoo.com; Representative Mark Semlek, Chairman, 307-756-9294, msemlek@wyoming.com; Representative Stan Blake, 307-875-3779, sblake@wyoming.com; Representative Bob Brechtel, 307-237-3174, bbrechtel@wyoming.com; Representative Seth Carson, 307-760-5998, scarson@wyoming.com; Representative Amy Edmonds. 307-632-5139; aedmonds@wyoming.com; Representative Mike Gilmore, 307-266-0023, michaelgilmore@wyoming.com; Representative Glenn Moniz, 307-760-1116, gmoniz@bresnan.net; Representative Matt Teeters, 307-837-2359, mteeters@wyoming.com; Representative Sue Wallis, 307-680-8515, sue.wallis52@gmail.com; Representative Dan Zwonitzer, 307-214-7826, dzwonitzer@wyoming.com.


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