State Licensees/Executive Orders/History of Events
by Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine
This article details a chronological order of events
surrounding the Louisiana Board of Veterinary Medicine’s (LBVM) efforts in
the aftermath of the natural disasters, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It is
not intended to be defensive or offensive in nature, but rather an
objective history of what occurred. The LBVM’s Newsletter is the primary
tool by which it provides information regarding its activities to
licensees and other interested parties.
It is an oversimplification to say these natural
disasters tragically devastated certain portions of Louisiana and left no
area of our state unaffected to some degree. The LBVM would like to thank
and compliment all persons and groups who contributed to the overwhelming
relief effort. Unfortunately, some very hard lessons have been learned
throughout this ordeal which will be noted, but hopefully, never required
to be used in the future. While some may be critical of the efforts of
certain parties, please keep in mind that it was, and to some degree
remains, a monumental task to resurrect order from chaos. The LBVM and its
members were, and continue to be, legally bound by oath of office and the
law to enforce the Veterinary Practice Act and its rules. The LBVM does
not have the legal authority to suspend, or ignore, the law even in a time
a natural disaster.
It also may be very tempting for people to “Monday
morning quarterback;” however, unless a person was actually involved in
the mechanics of obtaining an executive order suspending the license
requirement of the law, AND fully understands the complex issues which
arose, second guessing and unfounded criticisms are really a waste of
energy and time. Hopefully, any incidents of this counterproductive
activity will be minimal.
The items listed below are those that the LBVM has
actual knowledge of regarding the events which occurred.
On August 26, 2005, Governor Blanco signed Proclamation
48 KBB 2005 in anticipation of impending Hurricane Katrina. Proclamation
48 KBB 2005 addressed a state of emergency, but did not suspend the laws
and rules governing state regulatory boards.
On Monday, August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the
Greater New Orleans and surrounding areas causing massive devastation. The
LBVM office and government offices were closed by order of the Governor
through Tuesday, August 30, 2005. The LBVM office resumed business on
Wednesday, August 31, 2005.
On Thursday, September 1, 2005, at approximately noon,
the LBVM office was closed by order of the police due to a suspected riot
at the Baton Rouge River Cent Complex. The LBVM employees were escorted to
their cars by armed security.
On Friday, September 2, 2005, the Governor signed
Executive Order KBB 05-26 suspending the laws for “medical professionals”
allowing out of state medical professionals to assist with the relief
The LBVM office remained closed due to the riot threat
through Monday, September 5, 2005, which was Labor Day. On Tuesday,
September 6, 2005, the offices, including LBVM, in the area near the Baton
Rouge River City Complex were allowed open by the police. The LBVM learned
of EO KBB 05-26 and took immediate steps to confirm with the Governor
whether or not out of state “veterinarians” were included in the term
“medical professionals.” LBVM was advised in writing by the Governor’s
office on Wednesday, September 7, 2005, that veterinarians were not
included in EO KBB 05-26.
The LBVM took immediate steps to contact the State
veterinarian regarding this issue. The State veterinarian was included in
Incident Command System and coordinating the relief efforts with FEMA in
Baton Rouge. The LBVM learned that the State veterinarian’s office was
under the impression that EO KBB 05-26 covered veterinarians.
On September 8, 2005, the Board of Veterinary Medicine,
along with the State veterinarian, began coordinating efforts to request
the Governor to issue an executive order suspending the legal requirement
for out of state veterinarians to contribute to the relief effort without
the need for a Louisiana license to practice. The LBVM deferred to the
State veterinarian on the need for out of state veterinarians since that
office was coordinating the relief efforts at Command Incident System.
On Friday, September 9, 2005, the LBVM submitted a
proposed executive order to the Governor through her executive counsel
addressing the issue. On Monday, September 12, 2005, the Governor signed
Executive Order KBB 05-35 (effective September 9 -September 25, 2005)
lawfully accomplishing this objective. EO KBB 05-35 was officially posted
for notice on the Governor’s website the evening of September 12, 2005.
On September 13, 2005, the LBVM implemented EO KBB
05-35, and the Registration Application and informational documentation
were posted on the LBVM’s website for access and registration. In
addition, the LBVM submitted the pertinent information to interested
parties by email/fax and requested the State veterinarian to submit any
listing or information regarding out of state veterinarians desiring to
register the LBVM and participate in the relief effort. (The Registration
Application and informational documentation were previously prepared by
the LBVM in anticipation of the Governor executing the proposed executive
On Monday, September 19, 2005, the LBVM emailed Deputy
Executive Counsel Watson inquiring as to the Governor’s protocol for
renewal of the Executive Order EO KBB 05-35 beyond its termination date of
September 25, 2005, if necessary. The LBVM again deferred to the State
veterinarian regarding the need for renewal at ground zero of the relief
On Tuesday, September 20, 2005, Deputy Executive Counsel
Watson emailed the LBVM with notice that the current executive order would
not automatically renew and that a new request from the LBVM and State
veterinarian would be required. Deputy Executive Counsel Watson’s email
was immediately forwarded by the LBVM to the State veterinarian with the
request to confirm the need for renewal to the Governor’s executive
counsel for consideration by the Governor prior to the expiration of EO
KBB 05-35 on September 25, 2005. The State veterinarian confirmed the need
for the extension of the executive order for three (3) additional weeks by
email on September 20, 2005. The matter was properly before the Governor
for consideration well before the September 25 termination date of the
current executive order.
On Thursday, September 22, 2005, Governor Blanco signed
EO KBB 05-43 extending the terms and effect of EO KBB 05-35 through
October 25, 2005. There was no gap in the substantive application of the
executive orders regarding out of state veterinarians who met the
qualifications and properly registered with the LBVM.
On Saturday, September 24, 2005, Hurricane Rita hit the
southwest coast of Louisiana causing massive devastation to the coastal
parishes. The LBVM office was closed from Friday, September 23, 2005
through Sunday, September 25, 2005 due to impending Hurricane Rita. The
information memo and registration application were officially updated on
the LBVM’s website on Monday, September 26, 2005.
On September 30, 2005, approximately 125 out of state
veterinarians had registered with the LBVM pursuant to the executive
orders. Some were believed to be operating through assignments from the
State veterinarian and FEMA, and others at the relief effort at LSU-SVM
Parker Coliseum Emergency Animal Shelter in Baton Rouge.
On September 30, 2005, LSU-SVM’s website posted notice
that Parker Coliseum Emergency Animal Shelter will no longer accept
animals after September 30, 2005, and will close operations on October 15,
2005. Parker Coliseum