Alaska legislators review unlicensed veterinary practice, disciplinary actions

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Mar 01, 2012

Anchorage — A new bill in Alaska spells out new rules for unlicensed veterinary care and disciplinary actions filed against veterinarians.

According to the bill's language, the board may no longer base a finding of professional incompetence or negligence solely on the unconventional or experimental nature of the licensee's practice in the absence of physical harm to an animal.

House Bill 251 stipulates that complaints, investigations and hearings involving licensees may only be filed by the owner or caretaker of the animal or the licensee who treated the animal.

Complaints must be made under oath within six months of the act detailed in the complaint. Additionally, a member of the state veterinary board whose veterinary practice lies within 25 miles of the licensee's practice may not participate in a disciplinary hearing against that licensee.

Finally, a person not licensed to practice veterinary medicine in Alaska may still do so, as long as the person is licensed in another state and is performing uncompensated work in Alaska.

Unlicensed veterinarians performing uncompensated work will not be immune to criminal or civil actions, but they may accept reimbursement for actual expenses incurred or in the form of nonmonetary donations, according to the bill.

The bill was introduced Jan. 6 and was referred to the Labor and Commerce Committee Jan. 20.