Oklahoma Legislators Back Lay Equine Dentists

Oklahoma legislators have approved a measure that allows individuals who are not veterinarians to float horses' teeth without risking felony charges.

SB 452 strips an amendment from the Oklahoma Veterinary Practice Act of 2008 that allowed felony charges against anyone accused of practicing veterinary medicine without a license. The Oklahoma House today approved the bill passed by the Senate on May 13. It now goes before Gov. Brad Henry for his signature.

SB 452 was introduced in April after professional rodeo rider Bobby Griswold became the first person to face felony charges under the amended Oklahoma Veterinary Practice Act (read more). Griswold is not a veterinarian, but he is a graduate of an equine dental school.

Supporters say the new bill allows horse owners to access equine services that some licensed veterinarians do not provide.

However, Cathy Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, said she believes the measure promotes unauthorized access to controlled drugs and diminishes quality of equine care.

"It's a step backward," she said.

It is uncertain whether the new law will affect Griswold's case. Neither his attorney, Joseph Walters, nor Oklahoma County Assistant District Attorney Scott Rowland was available for comment.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com. Learn More