Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Many in Oklahoma's Horse Industry Want Change in "Teeth Floating" Law

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Many in Oklahoma's Horse Industry Want Change in "Teeth Floating" Law

Article excerpt

Filing a horse's teeth shouldn't be a felony, the Thoroughbred Racing Association and others in Oklahoma's horse industry have said as they push for new legislation to reverse a state law.

"Teeth floating has been going on in Oklahoma and all over the United States for many, many years," association President Joe Lucas said. "Most veterinarians, you can't even get to come out and do it. ... Hopefully, the Legislature will take a closer look at this and get it fixed so we can go about taking care of our horses the way they need to be taken care of."

But those people are missing the point, said Dan Danner, a practicing veterinarian and president of the state Board of Veterinary Medicine. Danner said he and his peers don't have a problem with others performing superficial cosmetic corrections such as hoof trimming or teeth filing. But it's important to keep the law in place to keep them from administering drugs and performing more complicated procedures such as tooth extractions.

"That's where these guys are really getting into trouble," Danner said. "There's nerve damage and other complications that come up because they don't have the proper training. The problem is all the yahoos out there who go to a weekend class and think they can do whatever ... then the horse goes down with an anesthetic crash."

The controversy came to a head with the arrest of rodeo star Bobby Griswold this month on complaints of performing illegal dentistry on a horse. The Geary resident, one of the top bronc riders in the nation, supplements his income as an equine dentist performing what horse owners refer to as floating, or the removal of sharp edges and points on horse molars, usually by grinding.

Griswold became the first person to be arrested under a new version of an older Oklahoma law. Before Nov. 1, the violation had been classified only as a misdemeanor. Danner said the legislative change made last year - without opposition - was driven by the state Board of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control with the goal of cracking down on improper use of veterinary drugs, a common problem with unlicensed, small animal handlers. …

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