The Vermont laws on regulation and licensing of veterinarians are found in 26 V.S.A. § 2401 through 26 V.S.A. § 2432. Pursuant to 26 V.S.A. § 2411, a state veterinary board is created which will be the continuation of and successor to the state board of veterinary registration and examination. The board consists of six members, four of whom are residents of the state and are graduates of a school of veterinary medicine, and who have had at least five years’ experience in the state and are in the active practice of veterinary medicine at the time of their appointment. Two members will be representatives of the public who are be residents of the state for five years with no financial interest in the profession other than as consumers or potential consumers of its services. They will have no financial interest personally or through a spouse, parent, child, brother or sister. The public members will participate in all board functions with the exception of drafting and grading examinations.
Furthermore, Board members will be appointed by the governor pursuant to sections 129b and 2004 of Title 3. Annually, the board will meet to elect a chairperson, vice chairperson and a secretary. Meetings may be called by the chairperson upon the request of any other three members. A majority of the members of the board constitute a quorum for transacting business and all action will be taken upon a majority vote of the members present and voting[i].
Powers of the Vermont State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners
Pursuant to Vermont law, the state veterinary board can:
(1) Adopt rules under chapter 25 of Title 3 necessary for the performance of its duties, ensuring that at least the following are established by statute or rule:
(A) a definition of the behavior for which a license is required;
(B) explanations of appeal and other significant rights given by law to licensees, applicants, and the public; and
(C) rules of practice in disciplinary cases, including provisions regarding representation and evidence at hearings and provisions regarding subpoenas and witness fees.
(2) Conduct any necessary hearings in connection with the issuance, renewal, suspension, or revocation of a license or otherwise related to the disciplining of a licensee;
(3) Receive complaints and charges of unprofessional conduct against any holder of a license. The board shall investigate all complaints in which there are reasonable grounds to believe that unprofessional conduct has occurred.
Moreover, the board may:
(1) with the approval of the director of the office of professional regulation, make contracts and arrangements for the performance of administrative and similar services required or appropriate in the performance of its duties;
(2) issue subpoenas and administer oaths in connection with any authorized investigation, hearing, or disciplinary proceeding;
(3) take or cause depositions to be taken as needed in any investigation, hearing or proceeding;
(4) receive legal assistance from the attorney general of the state.
Licensing of Veterinarians
Pursuant to 26 V.S.A. § 2422, an application for a license must be in writing and signed by the applicant, on forms furnished by the office of professional regulation, setting forth facts concerning the applicant as the board may require. Licensing standards and procedures established by the board must be fair and reasonable, and designed and implemented to measure and reasonably ensure an applicant’s qualifications to practice the occupation. They must not be designed or implemented for the purpose of limiting the size of the occupation[iii].
Furthermore, 26 V.S.A. § 2425 provides that the board can license as a veterinarian each applicant who proves to the satisfaction of the board his or her fitness for licensure under the terms of this chapter. It can issue to each person licensed a certificate of licensure which is prima facie evidence of the right of the person to whom it is issued to practice as a licensed veterinarian or to represent himself or herself as a licensed veterinarian, subject to the conditions and limitations of the statute. If a licensee has a principal place of business for the practice of veterinary medicine, a license shall be prominently displayed at that place. However, licenses may not be transferred.
The statute further provides that on a schedule established by the office of professional regulation, a licensed veterinarian shall pay to the secretary of state a renewal fee in the amount prescribed by section 2414 of this title, and shall receive a license card bearing his or her name, address, registration number, and the date of expiration of the license. A person shall not be required to pay renewal fees for years during which the license was lapsed. As a condition of renewal, a licensee shall complete continuing veterinary medical education, approved by the board by rule, during the preceding two-year period. For purposes of this subsection, the board may require, by rule, not more than 24 hours of approved continuing veterinary medical education as a condition of renewal.
Pursuant to 26 V.S.A. § 2428, a license which has lapsed for five years or longer may be reinstated upon successful completion of national board licensing examinations within the previous two years or upon proof that the licensee has actively practiced licensed clinical veterinary medicine for 3,000 hours during the preceding three years in another United States or Canadian jurisdiction.
Discipline of Veterinarians
In Vermont, unprofessional conduct of veterinarians means:
(1) failing to make available, upon request of a person using the licensee’s services, copies of documents in the possession or under the control of the licensee, when those documents have been prepared for and purchased by the user of services;
(2) conduct which evidences moral unfitness to practice the occupation;
(3) any of the following except when reasonably undertaken in an emergency situation in order to protect life, health, or property:
(A) practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope permitted by law; or
(B) accepting and performing occupational responsibilities which the licensee knows or has reason to know that he or she is not competent to perform;
(C) performing occupational services which have not been authorized by the consumer or his or her legal representative.
The board may take disciplinary action against a licensee or applicant found guilty of unprofessional conduct. Discipline against an applicant may be a warning, a reprimand, suspension of a license for a specific period of time, or permanent revocation or denial of license.
[i] 26 V.S.A. § 2412.
[ii] 26 V.S.A. § 2413.
[iii]26 V.S.A. § 2423.
[iv] 26 V.S.A. § 2426.
[v] 26 V.S.A. § 2431.