PA 17-168—sHB 6347

Environment Committee

Public Health Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING PET OWNER ACCESS TO STATE AGENCY RECORDS OF INVESTIGATION FOR COMPLAINTS OF WRONGDOING BY VETERINARIANS

SUMMARY: This act allows the owner of an animal that is the subject of a Department of Public Health (DPH) investigation against a veterinarian to have access to information about the investigation. By law, with limited exceptions, DPH's veterinarian investigations are confidential, exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and may not be disclosed to a third party. The act specifies that the owner of an animal that is the subject of a DPH investigation against a veterinarian is not a third party for purposes of disclosure.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2017

BACKGROUND

DPH Investigations of Veterinarians

State law requires DPH to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by veterinarians to determine if there is probable cause to issue charges and take disciplinary action against them. An investigation must be conducted within 12 months after DPH receives an allegation.

If DPH makes a finding of no probable cause or fails to make a finding within the 12-month period, the allegation, investigation, and related records remain confidential and no one may disclose knowledge of the investigation to a third party unless the veterinarian requests that it be disclosed.

If DPH finds there is probable cause to take disciplinary action, the allegation, investigation, and related records become public records, disclosable under FOIA.

By law, disciplinary action may include revocation or suspension of the veterinarian's license, reprimand, probation, or a civil fine of up to $25,000 (CGS 19a-17).