2006 Regular Session
By: Representative Whittington
AN ACT TO CODIFY NEW CODE SECTION 73-39-94, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE THE MISSISSIPPI BOARD OF VETERINARY MEDICINE TO ALLOW CERTIFIED ANIMAL EUTHANASIA TECHNICIANS (CAET) EMPLOYED BY CERTIFIED ANIMAL CONTROL AGENCIES TO PERFORM EUTHANASIA OF ANIMALS; TO RELEASE FROM LIABILITY ANY SUCH AGENCY OR VETERINARIAN ACTING IN GOOD FAITH AND DUE CARE; TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION; TO AUTHORIZE THE MISSISSIPPI BOARD OF VETERINARY MEDICINE TO ISSUE CERTIFIED ANIMAL EUTHANASIA TECHNICIAN CERTIFICATES; TO AMEND SECTION 73-39-53, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO DEFINE CERTAIN TERMS; TO AMEND SECTION 73-39-57, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL POWERS AND DUTIES TO THE MISSISSIPPI BOARD OF VETERINARY MEDICINE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The following shall be codified as Section 73-39-94, Mississippi Code of 1972:
73-39-94. (1) (a) Euthanasia of animals in a certified animal control agency may only be performed by a licensed veterinarian, a licensed veterinary technician employed by and functioning under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian, or a certified animal euthanasia technician as provided by law. A certified animal control agency which employs a certified animal euthanasia technician may purchase, possess and administer sodium pentobarbital or other drug which the board may approve for the euthanasia of animals. Sodium pentobarbital and other drugs approved by the board shall be the only drugs used for the euthanasia of animals in a certified animal control agency. Upon submission of a complete application, payment of a fee established by the board and successful completion of a board-approved animal euthanasia specialist training course by the applicant, the Board of Veterinary Examiners shall issue to any person whom it determines to be qualified a certificate for the person to function as a certified animal euthanasia specialist.
(b) No officer or agent of a certified animal control agency or veterinarian acting in good faith and with due care pursuant to this act may be held liable either criminally or civilly for that act, nor shall any civil or criminal liability attach to the employer of the officer, agent or veterinarian.
(c) A court order shall not be necessary to carry out this section.
(2) Any person who violates this act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine not exceeding Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding six (6) months, or both.
(3) Notwithstanding any provision of this section, the Mississippi Board of Veterinary Medicine shall issue a certified animal euthanasia technician certificate to any person who (a) has not less than five (5) years' experience in performing euthanasia on animals for a federal, municipal or county animal control shelter, (b) is presently performing euthanasia on animals for a federal, municipal or county animal control shelter and (c) makes application to the board for the certificate during the period from July 1, 2006, through July 31, 2006. The board shall furnish any person seeking certification under this section an application form upon request. The applicant's previous experience and current employment at a federal, municipal or county animal control shelter must be documented in writing by the owner, management, licensee or governing authorities in charge of the animal control shelter and included with the application to the board.
SECTION 2. Section 73-39-53, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
73-39-53. When used in this chapter, these words and phrases shall be defined as follows:
(a) "Abandoned" means to forsake entirely, to neglect or refuse to provide or perform legal obligations for the care and support of an animal or to refuse to pay for treatment or other services without an assertion of good cause.
(b) "Accredited college of veterinary medicine" means any veterinary college, school or division of a university or college that offers the degree of doctor of veterinary medicine or its equivalent and that is accredited by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
(c) "Accredited program in veterinary technology/technician" means any postsecondary educational program that is accredited by the Committee on Veterinary Technician Education and Activities of the AVMA.
(d) "Animal" means any animal other than a human.
(e) "Board" means the Board of Veterinary Medicine.
(f) "Client" means the patient's owner, owner's agent or other person responsible for the patient.
(g) "Complementary, alternative and integrative therapies" means a heterogeneous group of preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic philosophies and practices, which at the time they are performed may differ from current scientific knowledge, or whose theoretical basis and techniques may diverge from veterinary medicine routinely taught in accredited veterinary medical colleges, or both. These therapies include, but are not limited to, veterinary acupuncture, acutherapy and acupressure; veterinary homeopathy; veterinary manual or manipulative therapy (therapies based on techniques practiced in osteopathy, chiropractic medicine or physical medicine and therapy); veterinary nutraceutical therapy; and veterinary phytotherapy.
(h) "Consultation" means when a licensed veterinarian receives advice in person, telephonically, electronically or by any other method of communication, from a veterinarian licensed in this or any other state or other person whose expertise, in the opinion of the licensed veterinarian, would benefit a patient.
(i) "Certified veterinary technician" means a veterinary technician certified by the board.
(j) "Direct supervision" means a licensed veterinarian is readily available on the premises where the patient is being treated.
(k) "Educational equivalence" means the holder has demonstrated knowledge and skill equivalent to that possessed by a graduate of an accredited college of veterinary medicine.
(l) "Extralabel use" means actual use or intended use of a drug in an animal in a manner that is not in accordance with the approved labeling. This includes, but is not limited to, use in species not listed in the labeling, use for indications (disease or other conditions) not listed in the labeling, use at dosage levels, frequencies, or routes of administration other than those stated in the labeling, and deviation from the labeled withdrawal time based on these different uses.
(m) "Impaired veterinarian" means a veterinarian who is unable to practice veterinary medicine with reasonable skill and safety because of a physical or mental disability as evidenced by a written determination from a competent authority or written consent based on clinical evidence, including deterioration of mental capacity, loss of motor skills, or abuse of drugs or alcohol of sufficient degree to diminish the person's ability to deliver competent patient care.
(n) "Indirect supervision" means a veterinarian has given either written or oral instructions for treatment of the patient and is readily available by telephone or other form of communication.
(o) "Informed consent" means the veterinarian has informed the client, in a manner that would be understood by a reasonable person, of the diagnostic and treatment options, risk assessment and prognosis and has provided the client with an estimate of the charges for veterinary services to be rendered and the client has consented to the recommended treatment.
(p) "Licensed veterinarian" means a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine in this state.
(q) "Patient" means an animal that is examined or treated by a veterinarian.
(r) "Person" means any individual, firm, partnership (general, limited or limited liability), association, joint venture, cooperative, corporation, limited liability company or any other group or combination acting in concert and whether or not acting as a principal, partner, member, trustee, fiduciary, receiver or as any other kind of legal or personal representative or as the successor in interest, assignee, agent, factor, servant, employee, director, officer or any other representative of such person.
(s) "Practice of veterinary medicine" means:
(i) To diagnose, treat, correct, change, alleviate or prevent animal disease, illness, pain, deformity, defect, injury or other physical, dental or mental conditions by any method or mode, including:
1. The prescribing, dispensing, administering or applying of any drug, medicine, biologic, apparatus, anesthetic or other therapeutic or diagnostic substance or medical or surgical technique; or
2. The using of complementary, alternative and integrative therapies; or
3. The rendering of advice or recommendation by any means including telephonic and other electronic communications with regard to any of the above.
(ii) To represent, directly or indirectly, publicly or privately, an ability and willingness to do an act described in this paragraph.
(iii) To use any title, words, abbreviation or letters in a manner or under circumstances that induce the belief that the person using them is qualified to do any act described in this paragraph.
(t) "Practice of veterinary technology" means to perform patient care or other services that require a technical understanding of veterinary medicine on the basis of written or oral instruction of a veterinarian, excluding diagnosing, prognosing, performing surgery or prescribing drugs, medicine or appliances.
(u) "Veterinarian" means a person who has received a professional veterinary medical degree from a college of veterinary medicine.
(v) "Veterinarian-client-patient relationship" means that all of the following are required:
(i) The veterinarian has assumed the responsibility for making clinical judgments regarding the health of the animal and the need for medical treatment, and the client has agreed to follow the veterinarian's instructions.
(ii) The veterinarian has sufficient knowledge of the animal to initiate at least a general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition of the animal because the veterinarian has recently seen and is personally acquainted with the keeping and care of the animal either by virtue of an examination of the animal or by medically appropriate and timely visits to the premises where the animal is kept.
(w) "Veterinary medicine" means all branches and specialties included within the practice of veterinary medicine.
(x) "Veterinary premises" means any premises or facility where the practice of veterinary medicine occurs, including, but not limited to, a mobile clinic, outpatient clinic, satellite clinic or veterinary hospital or clinic, but shall not include the premises of a veterinary client, research facility, a federal military base or an accredited college of veterinary medicine.
(y) "Veterinary prescription drug" means a drug that may not be dispensed without the prescription of a veterinarian and that bears the label statement: "CAUTION: Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian."
(z) "Veterinary technician" means a person certified by the board as a veterinary technician.
(aa) "Veterinary technologist" means a graduate of a four-year accredited program in veterinary technology.
(bb) "Certified animal control agency" means a federal, county or municipal animal shelter, dog pound or animal control agency, private humane society, state, county or municipal law enforcement agency, or any combination thereof, which temporarily houses stray, unwanted or injured animals and which is certified pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
(cc) "Certified animal euthanasia technician (CAET)" means a person employed by a certified animal control agency who is authorized by the Mississippi Board of Veterinary Medicine to perform euthanasia on animals with approved scheduled substances.
SECTION 3. Section 73-39-57, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
73-39-57. The board may:
(a) Adopt, amend or repeal all rules necessary for its government and all regulations necessary to implement this chapter, including the establishment and publication of standards of practice and professional conduct for the practice of veterinary medicine.
(b) Adopt, promulgate and enforce rules and regulations relating to specific duties and responsibilities; certification, registration or licensure; and other matters pertaining to veterinary technicians or nonlicensed persons consistent with this chapter.
(c) Initiate disciplinary procedures, hold hearings, reprimand, suspend, revoke or refuse to issue or renew credentials and perform any other acts that may be necessary to regulate veterinary technicians and technologists.
(d) Examine by established protocol the qualifications and fitness of applicants for a license to practice veterinary medicine in this state.
(e) Issue, renew or deny the licenses and temporary permits to practice veterinary medicine.
(f) Limit, suspend or revoke the licenses of disciplined veterinarians or otherwise discipline licensed veterinarians consistent with this chapter and applicable rules and regulations.
(g) Establish and publish annually a schedule of fees for licensing and certification.
(h) Conduct investigations of suspected violations of this chapter to determine whether there are sufficient grounds to initiate disciplinary proceedings.
(i) Inspect veterinary premises and equipment, including practice vehicles, at any time in accordance with protocols established by rule.
(j) Hold hearings on all matters properly brought before the board, to administer oaths, receive evidence, make necessary determinations and enter orders consistent with the findings. The board may require by subpoena the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of papers, records or other documentary evidence and commission depositions. The board may designate one or more of its members to serve as its hearing officer. The board shall adopt rules and regulations for hearings before the board and the rules shall afford any person appearing before the board the safeguards of procedural due process. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply.
(k) Employ full- or part-time personnel necessary to implement this chapter and purchase or rent necessary office space, equipment and supplies.
(l) Appoint from its own membership one or more members to act as representatives of the board at any meeting within or outside the state.
(m) Bring proceedings in the courts against any person for the enforcement of this chapter or any regulations made pursuant thereto.
(n) Adopt, promulgate and enforces rules and regulations providing for the issuance of permits or the purchase, possession and use of board approved drugs for euthanasia by certified animal control agencies, which shall set forth guidelines for the proper storage and handling of the substances and other provisions as may be necessary to ensure the use purposed by this section. In addition, the rules shall provide:
(i) For an application or inspection fee and a renewal fee at set intervals;
(ii) That upon certification by the board that the applying agency meets the qualifications set forth in the rules, a permit shall be issued;
(iii) That the board may revoke or suspend the permit upon the determination that the permittee fails to follow the rules of the board regarding proper storage and handling or use of approved euthanasia substances.
(o) Adopt, promulgate and enforce rules regulating the certification of animal control agencies and animal euthanasia technicians.
The powers enumerated herein are granted for the purpose of enabling the board to supervise effectively the practice of veterinary medicine and veterinary technology and are to be construed liberally to accomplish this objective.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2006.