Code Section Group

Business and Professions Code - BPC

DIVISION 2. HEALING ARTS [500 - 4999.129]

  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 399. )

CHAPTER 11. Veterinary Medicine [4800 - 4920.8]

  ( Chapter 11 repealed and added by Stats. 1937, Ch. 933. )

ARTICLE 4. Revocation and Suspension [4875 - 4887]
  ( Article 4 added by Stats. 1937, Ch. 933. )

4875.
  

The board may revoke or suspend for a certain time the license or registration of any person to practice veterinary medicine or any branch thereof in this state after notice and hearing for any of the causes provided in this article. In addition to its authority to suspend or revoke a license or registration, the board shall have the authority to assess a fine not in excess of five thousand dollars ($5,000) against a licensee or registrant for any of the causes specified in Section 4883. A fine may be assessed in lieu of or in addition to a suspension or revocation. The proceedings under this article shall be conducted in accordance with Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, and the board shall have all the powers granted therein. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 4903, all fines collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited to the credit of the Veterinary Medical Board Contingent Fund.

(Amended by Stats. 2009, Ch. 80, Sec. 10. (AB 107) Effective January 1, 2010.)

4875.1.
  

(a) In order to ensure that its resources are maximized for the protection of the public, the board shall prioritize its investigative and prosecutorial resources to ensure that veterinarians and registered veterinary technicians representing the greatest threat of harm are identified and disciplined expeditiously. Cases involving any of the following allegations shall be handled on a priority basis, as follows, with the highest priority being given to cases in paragraph (1):

(1) Negligence or incompetence that involves death or serious bodily injury to an animal patient, such that the veterinarian or registered veterinary technician represents a danger to the public.

(2) Cruelty to animals.

(3) A conviction or convictions for a criminal charge or charges or being subject to a felony criminal proceeding without consideration of the outcome of the proceeding.

(4) Practicing veterinary medicine while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

(5) Drug or alcohol abuse by a veterinarian or registered veterinary technician involving death or serious bodily injury to an animal patient or to the public.

(6) Self-prescribing of any dangerous drug, as defined in Section 4022, or any controlled substance, as defined in Section 4021.

(7) Repeated acts of excessive prescribing, furnishing, or administering of controlled substances, as defined in Section 4021, or repeated acts of prescribing, dispensing, or furnishing of controlled substances, as defined in Section 4021, without having first established a veterinarian-client-patient relationship pursuant to Section 2032.1 of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations.

(8) Extreme departures from minimum sanitary conditions such that there is a threat to an animal patient or the public and animal health and safety, only if the case has already been subject to Section 494 and board action.

(b) The board may prioritize cases involving an allegation of conduct that is not described in subdivision (a). Those cases prioritized shall not be assigned a priority equal to or higher than the priorities established in subdivision (a).

(c) The board shall annually report and make publicly available the number of disciplinary actions that are taken in each priority category specified in subdivisions (a) and (b).

(Added by Stats. 2008, Ch. 529, Sec. 12. Effective January 1, 2009.)

4875.2.
  

If, upon completion of an investigation, the executive officer has probable cause to believe that a veterinarian, a registered veterinary technician, or an unlicensed person has violated provisions of this chapter, the executive officer may issue a citation to the veterinarian, registered veterinary technician, or unlicensed person, in accordance with Sections 125.9 and 148 and the board’s regulations established pursuant thereto.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 631, Sec. 37. (AB 1535) Effective January 1, 2022.)

4875.3.
  

(a) If the board determines, as a result of its inspection of the premises pursuant to Section 4809.5, or any other place where veterinary medicine, veterinary dentistry, veterinary surgery, or the various branches thereof is practiced, or that is otherwise in the possession of a veterinarian for purpose of that practice, that it is not in compliance with the standards established by the board, the board shall provide a notice of any deficiencies and provide a reasonable time for compliance with those standards prior to commencing any further action pursuant to this article. The board may issue an interim suspension order pursuant to Section 494 in those cases where the violations represent an immediate threat to the public and animal health and safety.

(b) A veterinarian who reviews and investigates an alleged violation pursuant to Section 4875.2 shall be licensed in or employed by the state either full time or part time and shall not have been out of practice for more than four years.

(Added by Stats. 2008, Ch. 529, Sec. 14. Effective January 1, 2009.)

4875.4.
  

(a) The board shall, in the manner prescribed in Section 4808, adopt regulations covering the assessment of civil penalties under this article which give due consideration to the appropriateness of the penalty with respect to the following factors:

(1) The gravity of the violation, including, but not limited to, whether the violation is minor.

(2) The good faith of the person being charged.

(3) The history of previous violations.

(b) In no event shall the civil penalty for each citation issued be assessed in an amount greater than five thousand dollars ($5,000).

(c) Regulations adopted by the board shall be pursuant to the procedures for citations and fines in accordance with Section 125.9.

(Amended by Stats. 2008, Ch. 529, Sec. 15. Effective January 1, 2009.)

4875.6.
  

(a) In addition to requesting an administrative hearing as provided for in paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) of Section 125.9, the cited person may request an informal conference to review the acts shared in the citation. The cited person shall make the request for an informal conference in writing, within 30 days of the date of issuance of the citation, to the executive officer.

(b) The executive officer or their designee shall hold, within 60 days from the receipt of the request, an informal conference with the cited person. The executive officer or their designee may extend the 60-day period for good cause.

(c) Following the informal conference, the executive officer or their designee may affirm, modify, or dismiss the citation, including any fine that is levied, order of abatement, or order of correction issued. The executive officer or their designee shall state in writing the reasons for the action and transmit a copy of those findings to the cited person within 30 days after the informal conference.

(d) If the citation, including any fine that is levied, order of abatement, or order of correction, is affirmed or modified following the informal conference, the respondent may make a request in writing to the executive officer within 30 days of the affirmed or modified citation, for a formal hearing, which shall be conducted as provided in paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) of Section 125.9.

(e) A cited person shall not request an informal conference for a citation that has been affirmed or modified following an informal conference.

(Repealed and added by Stats. 2021, Ch. 631, Sec. 39. (AB 1535) Effective January 1, 2022.)

4876.
  

In addition to its authority to suspend or revoke a license or registration, or assess a fine on a person licensed or registered under this chapter, the board shall have the authority to place a licensee or registrant on probation. The authority of the board to discipline by placing the licensee or registrant on probation shall include, but is not limited to, the following:

(a) Requiring the licensee or registrant to complete a course of study or service, or both, as prescribed by the board, and to demonstrate renewed competence to the satisfaction of the board.

(b) Requiring the licensee or registrant to submit to a complete diagnostic examination by one or more physicians appointed by the board. If the board requires a licensee or registrant to submit to that examination, the board shall receive and consider any other report of a complete diagnostic examination given by one or more physicians of the licensee’s or registrant’s choice.

(c) Restricting or limiting the extent, scope, or type of practice of the licensee or registrant.

(Amended by Stats. 2009, Ch. 80, Sec. 13. (AB 107) Effective January 1, 2010.)

4881.
  

The executive officer in all cases of suspension, revocation, or restriction of licenses or assessment of fines shall enter on the register the fact of suspension, revocation, restriction, or fine, as the case may be. The record of any suspension, revocation, restriction, or fine so made by the county clerks shall be prima facie evidence of the fact thereof, and of the regularity of all the proceedings of the board in the matter of the suspension, revocation, restriction, or fine.

(Amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 47, Sec. 36. Effective March 21, 1984.)

4883.
  

The board may deny, revoke, or suspend a license or registration or assess a fine as provided in Section 4875 for any of the following:

(a) Conviction of a crime substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of veterinary medicine, surgery, or dentistry, in which case the record of the conviction shall be conclusive evidence.

(b) For having professional connection with, or lending the licensee’s or registrant’s name to, any illegal practitioner of veterinary medicine and the various branches thereof.

(c) Violation or attempting to violate, directly or indirectly, any of the provisions of this chapter.

(d) Fraud or dishonesty in applying, treating, or reporting on tuberculin or other biological tests.

(e) Employment of anyone but a veterinarian licensed in the state to demonstrate the use of biologics in the treatment of animals.

(f) False or misleading advertising.

(g) Unprofessional conduct, that includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(1) Conviction of a charge of violating any federal statutes or rules or any statute or rule of this state regulating dangerous drugs or controlled substances. The record of the conviction is conclusive evidence thereof. A plea or verdict of guilty or a conviction following a plea of nolo contendere is deemed to be a conviction within the meaning of this section. The board may order the license or registration to be suspended or revoked, or assess a fine, or decline to issue a license or registration, when the time for appeal has elapsed, or the judgment of conviction has been affirmed on appeal or when an order granting probation is made suspending the imposition of sentence, irrespective of a subsequent order under Section 1203.4, 1210.1, or 3063.1 of the Penal Code allowing the person to withdraw a plea of guilty and to enter a plea of not guilty, or setting aside the verdict of guilty, or dismissing the accusation, information, or indictment.

(2) (A) The use of, or prescribing for or administering to oneself, any controlled substance.

(B) The use of any of the dangerous drugs specified in Section 4022, or of alcoholic beverages to the extent, or in any manner as to be dangerous or injurious to a person licensed or registered under this chapter, or to any other person or to the public, or to the extent that the use impairs the ability of the person so licensed or registered to conduct with safety the practice authorized by the license or registration.

(C) The conviction of more than one misdemeanor or any felony involving the use, consumption, or self-administration of any of the substances referred to in this section or any combination thereof, and the record of the conviction is conclusive evidence.

A plea or verdict of guilty or a conviction following a plea of nolo contendere is deemed to be a conviction within the meaning of this section. The board may order the license or registration to be suspended or revoked or assess a fine, or may decline to issue a license or registration, when the time for appeal has elapsed or the judgment of conviction has been affirmed on appeal or when an order granting probation is made suspending imposition of sentence, irrespective of a subsequent order under Section 1203.4, 1210.1, or 3063.1 of the Penal Code allowing the person to withdraw a plea of guilty and to enter a plea of not guilty, or setting aside the verdict of guilty, or dismissing the accusation, information, or indictment.

(3) A violation of any federal statute, rule, or regulation or any of the statutes, rules, or regulations of this state regulating dangerous drugs or controlled substances.

(h) Failure to keep the licensee’s or registrant’s premises and all equipment therein in a clean and sanitary condition.

(i) Fraud, deception, negligence, or incompetence in the practice of veterinary medicine.

(j) Aiding or abetting in any acts that are in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter.

(k) The employment of fraud, misrepresentation, or deception in obtaining the license or registration.

(l) The revocation, suspension, or other discipline by another state or territory of a license, certificate, or registration to practice veterinary medicine or as a veterinary technician in that state or territory.

(m) Cruelty to animals, conviction on a charge of cruelty to animals, or both.

(n) Disciplinary action taken by any public agency in any state or territory for any act substantially related to the practice of veterinary medicine or the practice of a veterinary technician.

(o) Violation, or the assisting or abetting violation, of any regulations adopted by the board pursuant to this chapter.

(p) Accepting, soliciting, or offering any form of remuneration from or to a cannabis licensee if the veterinarian or the veterinarian’s immediate family have a financial interest with the cannabis licensee. For purposes of this subdivision, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) “Cannabis licensee” shall have the same meaning as “licensee” in Section 26001.

(2) “Financial interest” shall have the same meaning as in Section 650.01.

(q) Discussing medicinal cannabis with a client while the veterinarian is employed by, or has an agreement with, a cannabis licensee. For purposes of this subdivision, “cannabis licensee” shall have the same meaning as “licensee” in Section 26001.

(r) Distributing any form of advertising for cannabis in California.

(s) Making any statement, claim, or advertisement that the licensee or registrant is a veterinary specialist or board certified unless they are certified by an American Veterinary Medical Association-Recognized Veterinary Specialty Organization.

(t) Exercising control over, interfering with, or attempting to influence the professional judgment of another California-licensed veterinarian or registered veterinary technician through coercion, extortion, inducement, collusion, or intimidation through any means, including, but not limited to, compensation, in order to require the other California-licensed veterinarian or registered veterinary technician to perform veterinary services in a manner inconsistent with current veterinary medical practice in this state.

(Amended by Stats. 2021, Ch. 631, Sec. 40. (AB 1535) Effective January 1, 2022.)

4884.
  

(a) A licensee shall not dispense or administer cannabis or cannabis products to an animal patient.

(b) Notwithstanding any other law and absent negligence or incompetence, a veterinarian licensed under this chapter shall not be disciplined by the board or have his or her license denied, revoked, or suspended solely for discussing the use of cannabis on an animal for medicinal purposes.

(c) On or before January 1, 2020, the board shall adopt guidelines for veterinarians to follow when discussing cannabis within the veterinarian-client-patient relationship. These guidelines shall be posted on the board’s Internet Web site.

(Added by Stats. 2018, Ch. 819, Sec. 2. (AB 2215) Effective January 1, 2019.)

4885.
  

A plea or verdict of guilty or a conviction following a plea of nolo contendere made to a charge of a felony or of any offense related to the practice of veterinary medicine or the practice of a veterinary technician is deemed to be a conviction within the meaning of this article. The board may order the license or registration to be suspended or revoked, or assess a fine as provided in Section 4883 or may decline to issue a license or registration, when the time for appeal has elapsed, or the judgment of conviction has been affirmed on appeal or when an order granting probation is made suspending the imposition of sentence, irrespective of a subsequent order under the provisions of Section 1203.4, 1210.1, or 3063.1 of the Penal Code allowing that person to withdraw his or her plea of guilty and to enter a plea of not guilty, or setting aside the verdict of guilty, or dismissing the accusation, information, or indictment.

(Amended by Stats. 2009, Ch. 80, Sec. 15. (AB 107) Effective January 1, 2010.)

4886.
  

In reinstating a license or registration that has been revoked or suspended under Section 4883, the board may impose terms and conditions to be followed by the licensee or registrant after the license or registration has been reinstated. The authority of the board to impose terms and conditions includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(a) Requiring the licensee or registrant to obtain additional professional training and to pass an examination upon completion of the training.

(b) Requiring the licensee or registrant to pass an oral, written, practical, or clinical examination, or any combination thereof to determine his or her present fitness to engage in the practice of veterinary medicine or to practice as a veterinary technician.

(c) Requiring the licensee or registrant to submit to a complete diagnostic examination by one or more physicians appointed by the board. If the board requires the licensee or registrant to submit to that examination, the board shall receive and consider any other report of a complete diagnostic examination given by one or more physicians of the licensee’s or registrant’s choice.

(d) Restricting or limiting the extent, scope, or type of practice of the licensee or registrant.

(Amended by Stats. 2009, Ch. 80, Sec. 16. (AB 107) Effective January 1, 2010.)

4887.
  

(a) (1) A person whose license or registration has been revoked or who has been placed on probation may petition the board for reinstatement or modification of penalty including modification or termination of probation after the period as described below in subparagraphs (A) to (C), inclusive, has elapsed from the effective date of the decision ordering the disciplinary action. The petition shall state facts as required by the board. The period shall be as follows:

(A) At least three years for reinstatement of a surrendered or revoked license.

(B) At least two years for early termination or modification of probation of three years or more.

(C) At least one year for modification of a condition or termination of probation of less than three years.

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the board may, upon a showing of good cause, specify in a revocation order, a surrender order, or an order imposing probation of more than three years that the person may petition the board for reinstatement or modification or termination of probation after one year.

(b) The petition shall be accompanied by at least two verified recommendations from veterinarians licensed by the board who have personal knowledge of the activities of the petitioner since the disciplinary penalty was imposed. The petition shall be heard by the board. The board may consider all activities of the petitioner since the disciplinary action was taken, the offense for which the petitioner was disciplined, the petitioner’s activities since the license or registration was in good standing, and the petitioner’s rehabilitation efforts, general reputation for truth, and professional ability. The hearing may be continued from time to time as the board finds necessary.

(c) The board reinstating the license or registration or modifying a penalty may impose terms and conditions as it determines necessary. To reinstate a revoked license or registration or to otherwise reduce a penalty or modify probation shall require a vote of five of the members of the board.

(d) The petition shall not be considered while the petitioner is under sentence for any criminal offense, including any period during which the petitioner is on court-imposed probation or parole. The board may deny without a hearing or argument any petition filed pursuant to this section within a period of two years from the effective date of the prior decision following a hearing under this section.

(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 429, Sec. 12. (SB 547) Effective January 1, 2018.)

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