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2019
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Summer 2019
Register Now for the 2019 AVMLA 
Continuing Education Seminar

If you haven't registered for the 2019 Annual AVMLA Continuing Education Seminar, to be held August 3-4, 2019 in beautiful Washington, DC.  What are you waiting for?  Register here!

The Practice of Veterinary Medicine Law, Evolving with the Times, is this year's educational focus.
 
This two-day conference brings together 10 of the most well-respected, top professionals in the veterinary legal and medical field.  Our speakers will focus on how the practice of veterinary medicine has changed over the past 25 years and what a industry professional needs to know to stay relevant in today's changing landscape.

Sessions will include discussion on controlled substances, what attorneys and veterinarians to know about the use of of cannabis for companion pets, knowing how to negotiate key provisions in corporate consolidator deals,  just to highlight a few.

We are continuing to highlight the 2019 AVMLA session speakers leading up to this year's Conference in the AVMLA News Brief.  In this issue, we are featuring:

Dr. Charlotte Lacroix, DMV, JD, who will be presenting on, Key Negotiated Provisions in Corporate Consolidator Deals and What to Ask for in the Transition Process.

Jan Woods, Cubex, LLC, who will be presenting, Controlled Substances 101, How and Why You Must Comply.

Panelist, Carolyn R. Brown, DVM, ASCPA,  Aimee Christian, ASPCA,  Robert Hensley, Esq. ASPCA, will weigh in on, Access to Basic Veterinary Care: A Panel Discussion on Meeting the Needs of Pet Owners in Poverty

Special *THANKS* to our 2019 Conference Host Sponsor, HARRIS BEACH, PLLC and the AVMLA 2019 Luncheon Sponsor, ASPCA !  


2019 Registration Links
Meet our next 
Highlighted 2019 AVMLA 
Session Presenters
Key Negotiated Provisions in Corporate Consolidator Deals and  What to Ask for in the Transition Process
Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD
Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD
Founder and CEO 

Dr. Charlotte Lacroix is the founder and CEO of Veterinary Business Advisors Inc. She serves on the Today's Veterinary Business editorial advisory board.  Dr. Lacroix e arned her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 1988 from UC Davis, completed a large-animal internship at the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada), and worked at an equine medical and surgical referral practice serving northern New Jersey. Earned her JD degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1997. Is in-demand as a speaker around the world, frequently presenting at NAVC, AVMA, WMPG, VMG, AAHA, WVC, and other major veterinary associations, along with numerous radio and TV appearances.

Dr. Lacroix contributes regularly to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association ,  NAVC's Today's Veterinary Practice and Veterinary Practice News, American Animal Hospital Association Veterinary Clinics of North America and Veterinary Economics-DVM360 publications. Dr. Lacroix Is the past president of NAVC and also has served in leadership roles for AVMA, AAHA, AAEP, NJAEP, NJVMA and PVMA. Dr. Lacroix serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Controlled Substances 101: How and Why You Must Comply
Jan Woods
Jan Woods
Professional Services & Regulatory Affairs Manager

Jan Woods' health care career has spanned over thirty years in both human and veterinary medicine. Ms. Woods positions in human healthcare were in senior management with national healthcare companies. She was the Vice President of Operations and Development for Care Net Health Systems based in Nashville, TN. and the Vice President of Operations and Development for Communicare and NBC HealthCare, based in Fort Lauderdale.    Ms. Woods owns her own veterinary consulting company; Veterinary Management and Marketing Specialists. She speaks and consults with veterinarians nationally. Her areas of expertise encompass clinic and hospital practice management, operations, finance, human resources, employee engagement, marketing and compliance with state and federal regulations. 

Some of Jan's past clients include Advanced Veterinary Specialists where she provided practice management consultation and served as the Hospital Administrator. Jan also provided pharmaceutical sales development consultation to M.G. Biologics. Current clients include Mountain View Animal Clinic, Coast to Coast Cardiologists and Corinne Ducey, MFT, M.A, Ph.D . She is currently employed as the Professional Services & Regulatory Affairs Manager for the veterinary division of Cubex, LLC. To read Ms. Woods full bio, please click here.  
Access to Basic Veterinary Care: A Panel Discussion on Meeting the Needs of Pet Owners in Poverty
Meet the Panel:
Carolyn R. Brown, DVM
Carolyn R. Brown, DVM
ASPCA Senior Director, Community Medicine

In her current role, Dr. Brown helps provides high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter surgeries, as well as basic and preventive care, to pets living in poverty and at risk of shelter relinquishment in New York City and Los Angeles. Her patients include privately owned pets, community cats and animals in the care of shelters, rescue groups and foster care networks. A graduate of Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Brown also determines and evaluates medical and surgical protocols.  

Aimee Christian
Aimee Christian
ASPCA Vice President, Community Medicine

Aimee Christian joined the ASPCA in 2005 as manager of the mobile clinic program. Since then, she's overseen the growth of the Community Medicine department from two mobile spay/neuter clinics and a dozen staff members to a bicoastal team of over 100, with six mobile units and three stationary clinics performing more than 50,000 surgeries annually. With a background in education, Christian focuses on providing services to the community that keep pets in their homes and out of shelters. 

Robert Hensley, Esq.
Robert Hensley Jr., ESQ.
Legal Advocacy Counsel at ASPCA 

Robert Hensley has been the  Legal Advocacy Senior Counsel, for Policy, Response & Engagement since 2013. Mr. Hensley has also provided lead counsel on significant FOIA litigation, the Policy and Positions Working Group and the Access to Basic Veterinary Care Working Group. Mr. Hensley graduated from the 
University of North Carolina School of Law.

Register for the June Continuing Education Webinar 

B e sure to register for the next AVMLA Webinar, Practical Solutions to Combat Cyber Threats, presented by Mary Ellen Seale, Founder & CEO of the National Cybersecurity Society,  June 18th , 3 PM ET, Register Here!

The Legal Perspective
Abandoned Pet Notice Requirements for Veterinary Practices
By: Frank C. Muggia, Partner, 

There may be several reasons a pet owner abandons an animal at a veterinary office, clinic or lab. The NY Agriculture and Markets Act § 331 sets forth the procedures for a veterinarian to follow when a patient has done so. Pursuant to the statute, an animal is deemed "abandoned" when it is placed in the custody of a veterinarian for a specified period of time, and the animal is not removed at the end of the specified period. In order to comply with the statute, the veterinarian is then required to send to the animal's owner via registered mail a notice to remove the animal within ten days thereafter. Where the animal was placed in the veterinarian's care for an unspecified period of time, the animal's owner is given twenty days' notice. Giving such notice is deemed a waiver of any lien on the animal for the costs of treatment, board or care of the animal.
 
What constitutes proper notice under the statute was analyzed by the Nassau County District Court of New York in Animal Hospital of Elmont, Inc. v. Gianfrancisco. Here, the defendant took his Great Dane puppy, Jumor, to the veterinarian's office for care. After several discussions with the veterinarian's office where the owner disclosed he was unable to pay his bill, the owner left Jumor at the office - apparently under the assumption he could not pick up his pet without payment. As a result, the veterinarian's office sent a letter to the owner stating the owner's current balance and that the office would continue to board Jumor for the next 10 days at an additional cost. After the owner did not pick him up within that period, the office transferred Jumor to the ASPCA, where he was mistakenly euthanized after only 48 hours at the facility.
 
The Court held the veterinarian's letter to the owner did not constitute sufficient notice under the terms of the statute. The Court set forth several requirements for proper "notice" under NY Agriculture and Markets Act § 331:  
  • The notice must reference the statute and its requirements;
  • If conjoined with some other form of correspondence, the notice must attach a copy of the statute; and
  • The notice should use the term "abandoned pet."
  The Court reasoned that it was clear from the office's communications with the pet owner that the veterinarian's office was aware the only thing that stood between the owner and his pet was his medical services bill. If by sending this correspondence the office thought it had served sufficient notice under the statute, the veterinarian's office should have given the owner enough information to know the office's lien would have been waived anyway. If the veterinarian does decide to waive its lien, it is possible the office can still solicit payment for services through its insurance provider or collection services.     
 
In this case, the veterinarian's failure to comply with the statute negated its ability to transmit the pet to the ASPCA, resulting in more serious violations. As such, a veterinarian should be very careful to include the above referenced requirements when sending a notice under NY Agriculture and Markets Act § 331, or any other comparable state statute.    
Case Law Summary
By: John Scott, DVM, JD, Scott Veterinary Services

OWNER OF MULTIPLE HORSES FILED A CIVIL RIGHTS ACTION AGAINST
SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT OFFICERS, VETERINARIANS, AND HORSES' CARE GIVER, RELATED TO EVENTS SURROUNDING THE SEIZURE OF THE HORSES

Bishop v. Bosquez, 218 WL 3233147, (D. Wis., 2018)

BASIS OF THE COMPLAINT:
On July 30, 2013, Sheriff's Officer Humane Officer Peter Bosquez arrived at the property  of Becky Bishop after receiving reports of a malnourished horse. Bosquez observed several horses  appearing to be malnourished and injured, fencing in a state of disrepair, and defects in the barn  enclosure and floor. Following several inspections of the property, veterinary inspection of the
horses, and entry of an abatement order without improvement in the conditions, (described at length in the opinion), a search warrant was served on Ms. Bishop at her residence. During the service of the warrant, various confrontations occurred (also described by the court) resulting in the arrest of
Ms. Bishop and her son, Kevin Bishop. Ultimately, 22 horses were seized and Ms. Bishop pled guilty, on June 30, 2014, to three counts of failing to provide adequate shelter for the horses and was sentenced to two years probation.
LEGAL PROCEEDINGS:
Ms. Bishop and her son, Kevin, filed a civil rights action in federal court asserting that various Sheriff's Department officers violated their constitutional rights under federal and state law, by using excessive force during the illegal search and seizure of the horses. They also maintained that Dr. Koltz, a veterinarian, and Dean Nolan, the horses' care giver violated their constitutional rights under federal law and assert various state law claims against them. (The court gives a lengthy description of the conflicting stories regarding the events of the service of the warrant) 

DISCUSSION BY THE COURT:
Officers' Motion for Summary Judgment:
Excessive Force:
Without resolving the factual disputes concerning the confrontations between the Bishops and the officers the court could not conclude, as a matter of law, that the officers' conduct was objectively reasonable.

Qualified Immunity:
Even though the Bishops did not respond to the officers' qualified immunity argument, if the  jury credits the Bishops' version of the facts, the force used by the officers would clearly violate their F ourth Amendment rights. Because the qualified immunity analysis is not sufficiently separable  from the merits of the case, the officers are not entitled to qualified immunity at this time.  Validity of the Search and Seizure:  Although the Bishops assert that officer Bosquez made false statements and failed to follow  proper procedure to obtain the search warrant, they have not presented evidence to substantiate these  claims. Conclusory allegations about the falsification of the search warrant affidavit are insufficient  to establish the validity of the affidavit. Accordingly, the Bishops' challenge to the validity of the  search and seizure fails.

State law Claims:
The remaining claims by the Bishops against the officers are wholly unrelated to the  excessive force claims. The court therefore declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over these  claims. These state law claims will be dismissed without prejudice so that they may be pursued in 
a state forum.

MOTIONS OR SUMMARY JUDGMENT BY DR. KOLTZ AND WE CARE ANIMAL HOSPITAL:
The Bishops assert claims under federal and state law against Dr. Koltz and We Care Animal  Hospital. To succeed in their federal claims, the Bishops must prove (1) the deprivation of a right  secured under the Constitution or federal law, and (2) that the defendants were acting under the color  of state law. The Bishops must demonstrate that both public and private actors share a common
unconstitutional goal, which the Bishops have not done in this case. 
The Bishops also assert that Dr. Kolts' medical assessment of Ms. Bishop's horses influenced  the officers' decision to seize them. However, the mere furnishing of information by a private party  to a law enforcement official is not sufficient to constitute a joint activity with State officials in  prohibited action or to state a claim against a private party under federal law. Since the Bishops have  not established that Dr. Koltz and the officers conspired to violate the Bishops' constitutional rights  or shared an unconstitutional goal, their federal law claims against Dr. Koltz will be dismissed. The  court will also grant summary judgment in favor of We Care Animal Hospital because it is a private  corporation and cannot be held vicariously liable under federal law by a respondeat superior theory.
The Bishops have also alleged state law claims of veterinary malpractice, perjury, and improper billing against Dr. Koltz and We Care Animal Hospital. Generally, when federal claims drop out of a case, federal court decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims. Accordingly, the Bishops' state law claims against Dr. Koltz and We Care Animal Hospital will be
dismissed without prejudice so that they may be pursued in a state forum.

NOLAN'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT:
The Bishops have alleged a state law claim of negligence of Nolan, the horses' care giver, which is entirely unrelated to the federal claims asserted against the officers. The court therefore declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over this state law claim and it will be dismissed  without prejudice. Nolan's motion for summary judgment will be denied as moot.

DECISION OF THE COURT:
The officers' motion for summary judgment is denied with respect to excessive force claims  against Wilz, Studzinski, and Mocadlo but granted with respect to the remaining federal claims.  The motion for summary judgment by Koltz and We Care Animal Hospital is granted as to  the federal claims and such claims are dismissed. The Bishops' state law claims are dismissed  without prejudice.
Nolan's motion for summary judgment are denied as moot.
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