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By:  Thomas G. Redmon, Esq.
Wilke, Fleury, Hoffelt, Gould & Birney, LLP
Sacramento, California

What is the “Cite and Fine” Program?

The Veterinary Medical Board’s “Cite and Fine” Program was first implemented in 1990 to aid in the processing of complaints made against veterinarians. These guidelines are used to address violations of the law that are not serious enough to warrant criminal prosecution or the suspension or revocation of a veterinarian’s license to practice. In these cases, the VMB issues a citation, and the veterinarian must pay a fine.

Common “Cite and Fine” Issues

Examples of issues that may result in a citation and fine include:

  • Discipline of license in another state
  • Unprofessional conduct
  • Animal abuse or cruelty
  • Failure to keep premises and/or equipment clean and sanitary
  • Record keeping violations
  • Record confidentiality violations

Of these issues, one of the most common citations veterinarians encounter is inadequate recordkeeping. This issue can result in a citation on its own, or it can complicate other actions initiated against the practice. In general, the VMB holds to the belief that information not contained in the records cannot be taken as fact. Thus, this issue often acts as a jumping-off point for more extensive disciplinary actions.

For example, assume a client brings action against your practice on the basis that you did not provide competent care to her pet. Even if the client’s story is misleading, embellished or completely inaccurate, you won’t have a leg to stand on if you don’t have detailed records to support your side of the story. The VMB won’t simply take your word as fact if you have no written documents to back up your position. Thus, you may find yourself facing unnecessary penalties simply because you failed to keep adequate records.

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