The following opinion is presented on-line for informational use only and does not replace the official version. (Mich Dept of Attorney General Web Site - www.ag.state.mi.us)



STATE OF MICHIGAN

JENNIFER M. GRANHOLM, ATTORNEY GENERAL

 

ANIMALS:

DOGS AND CATS:

LICENSES AND PERMITS:

Person without veterinarian license vaccinating dogs owned by another

A kennel owner who is not a licensed veterinarian may not administer routine vaccinations to a dog owned by another person, unless the kennel owner is acting under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

 

Opinion No. 7109

June 7, 2002

 

Honorable Cameron S. Brown
State Representative
The Capitol
Lansing, MI 48913

You have asked whether a kennel owner who is not a licensed veterinarian may administer routine vaccinations to a dog owned by another person.

Information supplied with your request indicates that a dog kennel owner proposes to administer vaccines (other than rabies vaccine) to a dog with the consent of the dog’s owner. The vaccines, which are available over the counter and not prescribed by a veterinarian, are administered for the purpose of preventing disease in the dog receiving the vaccine as well as to protect other dogs boarded at the kennel facility.

The Animal Industry Act, 1988 PA 466, MCL 287.701 et seq, was enacted, inter alia, to prevent, control, and eradicate infectious, contagious, or toxicological diseases of livestock or other animals. The Act defines the term "animal" to include "domestic animals." Section 3(2).

Section 43(4) of the Act, which regulates the administration of veterinary biologicals, provides that:

Veterinary biologicals shall be administered only by a licensed veterinarian or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian unless used in compliance with section 18814 of the public health code, Act No. 368 of the Public Acts of 1978, being section 333.18814 of the Michigan Compiled Laws.1

Section 6(31) defines "veterinary biologicals" to mean:

[A]ll viruses, serums, toxins and analogous products of natural or synthetic origin, or products prepared by any type of genetic engineering, such as diagnostics, antitoxins, vaccines, live microorganisms, killed microorganisms, and the antigenic or immunizing components of microorganisms intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of diseases in animals. [Emphasis added.]

The primary rule of statutory interpretation is to ascertain and give effect to the intent of the Legislature. Frankenmuth Mut Ins Co v Marlette Homes, Inc, 456 Mich 511, 515; 573 NW2d 611 (1998). The first criterion for determining legislative intent is the specific language of the statute. In re MCI Telecommunications Complaint, 460 Mich 396, 411; 596 NW2d 164 (1999). Where the language of a statute is clear and unambiguous, judicial construction is neither necessary nor permitted. Lorencz v Ford Motor Co, 439 Mich 370, 376; 483 NW2d 844 (1992). Sections 43(4) and 6(31) of the Animal Industry Act are clear and unambiguous. By definition, vaccines constitute veterinary biologicals. Veterinary biologicals may be administered only by a licensed veterinarian or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

This conclusion is consistent with the Public Health Code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.1101 et seq, which regulates certain health professionals. The Code prohibits persons from engaging in the practice of veterinary medicine unless they are licensed by the Board of Veterinary Medicine. Section 18811(1). Section 18805(2) of the Code defines the practice of veterinary medicine to include:

(a) Prescribing or administering a drug, medicine, treatment, or method of procedure; performing an operation or manipulation; applying an apparatus or appliance; or giving an instruction or demonstration designed to alter an animal from its normal condition. [Emphasis added.]

It is my opinion, therefore, that a kennel owner who is not a licensed veterinarian may not administer routine vaccinations to a dog owned by another person, unless the kennel owner is acting under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.

 

JENNIFER M. GRANHOLM
Attorney General

1Section 18814(a) of the Public Health Code enumerates several acts that do not constitute the practice of veterinary medicine.