Arkansas laws on regulation and licensing of veterinarians can be found in Subtitle 3, Title 17 of Arkansas code. Pursuant to A.C.A. § 17-101-201, a Veterinary Medical Examining Board is to be created consisting of five members appointed by the Governor for terms of five years. Four members shall:
- Be licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the State of Arkansas;
- Be in good standing and members of the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association;
- Be graduates of an accredited or approved college of veterinary medicine or holders of an Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates Certificate;
- Be actively engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine in Arkansas; and
- Have at least five years of experience in the practice of veterinary medicine.
One member shall be a public member who:
- Shall be a resident of Arkansas who has attained the age of majority; and
- Shall not be, nor shall ever have been, a veterinarian or the spouse of a veterinarian, or a person who has:
- Ever had any material financial interest in the provision of veterinarian services; or
- Engaged in any activity directly related to the practice of veterinary medicine.
A board member’s term of office expire s on March 1 of the last year of the term of appointment. Each member shall serve until his or her successor has been appointed and qualified[i].
A.C.A. § 17-101-202 provides that the Secretary-treasurer of the Veterinary Medical Examining Board is the custodian of all fees paid by the Veterinary Medical Examining Board and must deposit all fees received with the Treasurer of State for the exclusive use of the board.
Powers and duties.
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 17-101-203, the Veterinary Medical Examining Board shall have the power to:
- Examine and determine the qualifications and fitness of applicants for a license to practice general veterinary medicine or any specialty area thereof, and the certification of veterinary technicians in Arkansas, and issue, renew, deny, suspend, or revoke licenses or certificates, or otherwise discipline veterinarians or veterinary technicians;
- Subpoena witnesses and take testimony bearing on the records of applicants for permits or for licenses to practice veterinary medicine in the State of Arkansas;
- Establish annually a schedule of license and permit fees based on the board’s financial requirements for the ensuing year;
- Conduct investigations into matters brought before the board and proceed on the board’s own motion to a hearing or other disciplinary action;
- Employ personnel necessary to carry out its duties;
- Purchase or rent necessary office space, equipment, and supplies;
- Promulgate and enforce regulations necessary to establish recognized standards for the practice of veterinary medicine and to carry out the provisions of this chapter. The board shall make available to interested members of the public copies of this chapter and all regulations promulgated by the board;
- Examine and evaluate qualifications of education, skill, and experience for certification of a person as a veterinary technician and for annual registration of employment;
- Regulate all veterinarians in a corporate practice and prevent corporate or noncorporate holdings from being sold to, directed by, or controlled by a nonveterinarian;
- (A) Hold hearings on all matters properly brought before the board and, in connection thereto, administer oaths, receive evidence, make the necessary determinations, and enter orders consistent with the findings.
(B) 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; and
- Bring proceedings in the courts for the enforcement of this chapter or any regulations made pursuant thereto.
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 17-101-301, any veterinarian or licensed veterinarian desiring a license to practice veterinary medicine in Arkansas may make written application to the Veterinary Medical Examining Board showing that s/he is:
- At least 21years of age; and
- A person of moral integrity and acceptable ethical standards.
The application for licensure to practice veterinary medicine in the State of Arkansas shall:
- Be written;
- Be signed by the applicant;
- Be submitted to the board at least 30 days prior to the exam;
- Be accompanied by a nonrefundable application fee established by the board; and
- Include, but not be limited to, the information set forth below:(A) A current photograph of the applicant;
(B) A certified transcript of the applicant’s veterinary school records;
(C) A copy of the applicant’s diploma from an accredited veterinary school or an affidavit from the dean of an accredited veterinary school certifying the applicant’s ability to graduate if s/he has not graduated at the time of application. However, a copy of the diploma must be submitted upon availability and before the exam date;
(D) An Educational Commission on Foreign Veterinary Graduates Certificate or an equivalent program approved by the board, if applicable; and
(E) (i) A National Board Exam score and Clinical Competency Test score or the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination score, or its future equivalent, reported through the Veterinary Information Verification Agency, or its future equivalent.
(ii) The Clinical Competency Test is not required for a poultry specialty license.
A.C.A. § 17-101-301 provides that the board by regulation may require that all applicants for licensure by examination complete a preceptorship program during their senior year under the supervision of a veterinarian licensed and in good standing in any state, territory, or district of the United States. The supervising veterinarian shall submit an affidavit to the board stating that the applicant has satisfactorily completed the preceptorship.
If the board finds that the applicant possesses the proper qualifications, it shall admit him or her to the next examination. If an applicant is found unqualified to take the examination or to receive a license without examination, the board shall immediately notify the applicant in writing of its findings and the grounds for same[ii].
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 17-101-302, the Veterinary Medical Examining Board, at such times as it may designate, conducts an examination of applicants for license to practice veterinary medicine in the State of Arkansas. The basis for licensure in the State of Arkansas is the National Board Examination and the Clinical Competency Test, or the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination, or its future equivalent along with a written examination conducted by the board.
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 17-101-303, the Veterinary Medical Examining Board, at its discretion, may issue a license without written examination to any qualified applicant who furnishes satisfactory evidence that s/he is a veterinarian and has:
- For the five years prior to filing his or her application, been a practicing veterinarian and licensed in a state, territory, or district of the United States having license requirements at the time the applicant was first licensed which are substantially equivalent to the requirements of this chapter;
- Qualified as a diplomate of a specialty board approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association;
- Been awarded a postgraduate degree in veterinary medicine; or
- Been recognized as an expert in the veterinary profession.
A.C.A. § 17-101-304 provides that the Secretary of the Veterinary Medical Examining Board may issue without examination a temporary permit to practice veterinary medicine in Arkansas to a qualified applicant for a license pending examination and provided that the temporary permit expires the day after the notice or results of the first examination given after the permit is issued. A temporary permit may be issued or revoked by majority vote of the board.
Denial, Suspension and Revocation of License
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 17-101-305, upon written complaint by any person or on the Veterinary Medical Examining Board’s own motion and after notice and hearing as prescribed in the Arkansas Administrative Procedure Act, § 25-15-201 et seq., the board may deny, suspend for a definite period, or revoke the license of any veterinarian, and/or impose a civil penalty for:
- Fraud, misrepresentation, or deception in obtaining a license or permit;
- Adjudication of insanity;
- Use of advertising or solicitation which is false, misleading, or otherwise deemed unprofessional under regulations promulgated by the board;
- (A) Conviction of a felony or other crime involving moral turpitude.
- A copy of the record of conviction certified by the clerk of the court entering the conviction shall be conclusive evidence;
- Incompetence, gross negligence, or other malpractice in the practice of veterinary medicine;
- Having professional association with or employing any person practicing veterinary medicine unlawfully;
- Fraud or dishonesty in the application or reporting of any test for disease in animals;
- Failure to maintain professional premises and equipment in a clean and sanitary condition in compliance with regulations promulgated by the board;
- Dishonesty or gross negligence in the inspection of foodstuffs or in the issuance of health or inspection certificates;
- Cruelty to animals;
- Unprofessional conduct by violation of a regulation promulgated by the board under this chapter;
- Being unable to practice as a veterinarian with reasonable skill and safety to patients because of illness, the use of drugs, alcohol, narcotics, or chemicals, or as a result of any mental or physical condition;
- Revocation, suspension, surrender, or other disciplinary sanction of a license to practice veterinary medicine by another state, territory, or district of the United States on grounds other than nonpayment of a registration fee or suspension of privileges by any other regulatory agency including the failure to report any such adverse action to the board within 60 days of the final action;
- The use, prescription, or sale of any veterinary prescription drug or the prescription of an extra-label use of any over-the-counter drug in the absence of a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship;
- Over treating patients or charging for services which did not occur unless the services were contracted for in advance or for services which were not rendered or documented in the patient’s records or charging for services which were not consented to by the owner of the patient or the owner’s agent;
- (A) Failing to furnish details of a patient’s medical records to another treating veterinarian, hospital, clinic, owner, or owner’s agent upon proper request or waiver by the owner or owner’s agent or failing to comply with any other law relating to medical records.
(B) However, X rays prepared by the licensed veterinarian shall remain the property of the veterinarian and shall be returned upon request or as otherwise agreed between the veterinarian and client;
- Failure of any applicant or licensee to cooperate with the board during any investigation, if the investigation does not concern the applicant or licensee;
- Failure to comply with any subpoena or subpoena duces tecum from the board, or an order of the board;
- Failure to timely pay license or registration renewal fees as specified in § 17-101-309;
- Violating a probation agreement with the board or any other licensing authority of this state, another state or territory of the United States, or a federal agency; or
- Violating any informal consent agreement for discipline entered into by an applicant or licensee with the board or any other licensing authority of Arkansas, another state or territory of the United States, or a federal agency.
At the discretion of the board, any person whose license is suspended or revoked by the board may be re-licensed or reinstated by the board at any time upon written application to the board showing cause to justify re-licensing or reinstatement. Upon suspension or revocation of a license, the actual license certificate must be surrendered to the board within 30 days of the board’s order unless the action is appealed and a stay is issued. If the board prevails upon appeal or the stay is lifted, the license certificate shall be surrendered within 10 days of the final order of the court[iii].
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 17-101-306, no person shall assist in the practice of veterinary medicine under the direction, supervision, and responsibility of a veterinarian as a veterinary technician without first applying for and obtaining a certificate of qualification from the Veterinary Medical Examining Board as a veterinary technician and having his or her employment registered in accordance with board regulations.
A veterinary technician shall perform only those acts and duties overseen by a supervising veterinarian that are within the scope of practice of the supervising veterinarian but shall not include diagnosis, prescribing medication, treatment, or surgery in the practice of animal husbandry. An applicant for a certificate of qualification as a veterinary technician may make written application to the board showing that s/he is:
- A citizen of the United States or an applicant for citizenship; and
- A person of moral integrity and acceptable ethical standards.
A.C.A. § 17-101-306 provides that each certified veterinary technician must annually register his or her employment with the board, stating his or her name and current address, the name and office address of both his or her employer and the supervising licensed veterinarian, and additional information as the board deems necessary. Upon any change of employment as a veterinary technician, the registration is considered suspended until new employment has been obtained and the board notified in writing of the new employment.
However, a veterinarian can utilize the services of an employee to perform services not requiring the skill and judgment of a veterinary technician, which services are performed under the direct personal supervision of the veterinarian. Such a lay employee shall not be identified as a “veterinary technician”, “animal technician”, or “technician”.
A veterinarian licensed under the provisions of this chapter may not establish a separate office or clinic in a location other than his or her regular office and place the separate office or clinic under the control or supervision of a veterinary technician.
After obtaining a degree from an accredited program in veterinary technology, and upon completing the application form for certification in Arkansas, the applicant will be issued a certificate of qualification[iv].
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 17-101-307, no person may practice veterinary medicine in Arkansas who is not a licensed veterinarian or the holder of a valid temporary permit issued by the Veterinary Medical Examining Board. However, this chapter does not prohibit:
- Employees of the federal or state government or employees of local government who are certified by an agency approved by the board to perform euthanasia from performing their official duties;
- Regular students in a veterinary school or college from performing duties or actions assigned by the school or college or working under the direct personal supervision of a veterinarian licensed in the State of Arkansas;
- Reciprocal aid of neighbors in performing routine accepted livestock management practices without compensation;
- Any veterinarian licensed in any foreign jurisdiction from consulting with a licensed veterinarian;
- The owner of an animal, his or her consignees, and their employees from performing routine accepted livestock management practices in the care of animals belonging to the owner;
- A member of the faculty of a veterinary school from performing his or her regular functions or a person from lecturing or giving instruction or demonstration at a veterinary school or in connection with a continuing education course or seminar for licensed veterinarians or registered technicians;
- A person from engaging in bona fide scientific research which reasonably requires experimentation involving animals;
- (A) Any act, task, or function performed by a veterinary technician at the direction of and under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian, when:(i) The technician is certified by and annually registered with the board as one qualified by training or experience to function as an assistant to a veterinarian;
(ii) The act, task, or function is performed at the direction of, and under the supervision of, a licensed veterinarian in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the board; and
(iii) The services of the veterinary technician are limited to assisting the veterinarian in the particular fields for which the assistant has been trained, certified, and registered.
(B) The section does not limit or prevent any veterinarian from delegating to a qualified person any acts, tasks, or functions which are otherwise permitted by law but which do not include diagnosis, prescribing medication, or surgery; or
- Any chiropractor licensed in this state and certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association from performing chiropractic upon animals so long as the chiropractic is performed under the immediate supervision of an Arkansas-licensed veterinarian.
Grounds for Revocation or Denial of Registration or Certification of Qualification
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 17-101-308, the Veterinary Medical Examining Board may deny or suspend any registration or deny or revoke any certificate of qualification upon the grounds that the applicant or veterinary technician is guilty of:
- Soliciting patients for any practitioner of the veterinary healing arts;
- Soliciting or receiving any form of compensation from any person other than his or her registered employer for performing as a veterinary technician;
- Willfully or negligently divulging a professional secret or discussing a veterinarian’s diagnosis or treatment without the express permission of the veterinarian;
(A) Any offense punishable by incarceration in the Department of Correction or federal prison.
(B) A copy of the record of conviction, certified by the clerk of the court entering the conviction, shall be conclusive evidence;
- Being unable to practice as a veterinary technician with reasonable skill and safety to patients because of illness, the use of drugs, alcohol, narcotics, or chemicals, or as a result of any mental or physical condition;
- Fraud or misrepresentation in applying for or procuring:
(A) A certificate of qualification to perform as a veterinary technician in Arkansas; or
(B) An annual registration;
- Impersonating another person registered as a veterinary technician or allowing any person to use his or her certificate of qualification or registration
- Aiding or abetting the practice of veterinary medicine by a person not licensed by the board
- Gross negligence in the performance of duties, tasks, or functions assigned to him or her by a licensed veterinarian
- Manifesting incapacity or incompetence to perform as a veterinary technician; or
- Conduct unbecoming a person registered as a veterinary technician or detrimental to the best interests of the public.At the discretion of the board, any person whose certificate of qualification is suspended or revoked by the board may be recertified or reinstated by the board at any time upon written application to the board showing cause to justify recertification or reinstatement[v].
Renewal of Licenses
A.C.A. § 17-101-309 provides that all licenses, certificates, and registrations expire on March 31 each year and may be renewed by payment of the annual renewal fee established by regulation of the Veterinary Medical Examining Board. Not later than March 1 each year, the board must mail a notice to each licensed veterinarian and registered veterinary technician that his or her license, registration, or certificate will expire on March 31 and must provide a renewal application form. Any person may reinstate an expired license, registration, or certificate within 5 years of its expiration by making application to the board for renewal and paying the current renewal fee along with all delinquent renewal fees. After 5 years have elapsed since the date of expiration, a license, registration, or certificate may not be renewed, and the holder must apply for a new license, registration, or certificate and take the required examinations. The board may provide by regulation for waiver of payment of any renewal fee of a licensed veterinarian or registered veterinary technician during any period when s/he is on active duty with any branch of the armed services of the United States for not to exceed 3 years or for the duration of a national emergency, whichever is longer.
Violations and Penalties
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 17-101-311, whenever the Veterinary Medical Examining Board determines that any provision of the chapter or any regulation promulgated by the board pursuant to the chapter has been violated, the board may impose a civil penalty not to exceed $5,000 per violation. The board may file an action in the Circuit Court of Pulaski County to collect any civil penalty not paid within 30 days of service of the order assessing the penalty, unless the circuit court enters a stay of the board’s order. If the board prevails in the action, the defendant must be directed to pay reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred by the board in prosecuting the action in addition to the civil penalty. Any person aggrieved by the action of the board imposing civil penalties may appeal the decision in the manner and under the procedure prescribed in the Arkansas Administrative Procedure Act, § 25-15-201 et seq., for appeals from administrative decisions. All funds derived from civil penalties imposed by the board must be deposited in 1 or more depositories qualifying for the deposit of public funds. The funds shall be used by the board for administering the provisions of this chapter[vi].
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 17-101-312, any person who shall practice or attempt to practice veterinary medicine in Arkansas without having been duly licensed is deemed guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon conviction, the person shall be fined in any sum of not less than $50.00 nor more than $250 for each and every offense or imprisoned for a term of not less than 6 months nor more than one 1 year, or shall be both fined and imprisoned in the discretion of the court.
A.C.A. § 17-101-312 provides that each day of the unlawful practice shall constitute a separate offense. One-half (1/2) of the sums assessed as fines shall be paid into the general fund of the county wherein it is assessed, and one-half (1/2) of the sums assessed as fines under this chapter shall be deposited with the Secretary-treasurer of the Veterinary Medical Examining Board and credited to the account of the Veterinary Medical Examining Board. The unlawful practice of veterinary medicine is declared to be a public nuisance.
In addition to the penalties provided in this section, the 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[vii].
A.C.A. § 17-101-313 provides that a veterinarian may dispose of any animal abandoned in his or her care if s/he gives notice of his or her intention to do so by certified mail sent to the last known address of the client. The veterinarian must allow the client 12 days from the mailing of the certified letter in which to retrieve the animal.
Citations issued by the Board
Pursuant to A.C.A. § 17-101-314, if upon completion of an investigation the Executive Secretary of the Veterinary Medical Examining Board has probable cause to believe that a veterinarian or an unlicensed person acting as a veterinarian has violated the provisions of this chapter, s/he may issue a citation to the veterinarian or unlicensed person. Each citation must be in writing and shall describe with particularity the nature of the violation, including a reference to the provision of this chapter alleged to have been violated. Each citation may also 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 $5,000. The citation must be served upon the veterinarian or unlicensed individual personally or by any type of mailing requiring a return receipt. Before any citation may be issued, the executive secretary shall submit the alleged violation for review to at least one (1) member of the board. Upon conclusion of the board designee’s review, the designee must prepare a finding of fact and a recommendation. If the board designee concludes that the veterinarian or unlicensed person has violated any provision of this chapter, a civil citation shall be issued to the veterinarian or unlicensed person. If a veterinarian or unlicensed person desires to administratively contest a civil citation or the proposed assessment of a civil penalty, s/he shall notify within 10 business days after service of the citation the executive officer in writing of his or her request. Upon receipt of the request, a hearing on the matter shall be scheduled before the board. in addition to the penalties provided in this section, the 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[viii].
[i] A.C.A. § 17-101-201.
[ii] A.C.A. § 17-101-301.
[iii] A.C.A. § 17-101-305.
[iv] A.C.A. § 17-101-306.
[v] A.C.A. § 17-101-308.
[vi] A.C.A. § 17-101-311.
[vii] A.C.A. § 17-101-312.
[viii] A.C.A. § 17-101-314.