Published: March 15, 2009
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His supporters say nonveterinarian equine dentists are essential because there are not enough vets to care for the thousands of horses in the state.

Supporters say lay equine dentists have done such dental work — known as teeth floating — for hundreds of years. Griswold’s supporters also are complaining he was set up.

The sponsor of the law, Rep. Brian Renegar, D-McAlester, said, "These guys have been breaking the law for years and years.”

He said prosecutors would not file charges against illegal horse dentists when a violation was only a misdemeanor, but "they can’t ignore a felony.”

Renegar, a veterinarian, said he was asked to sponsor the legislation by the state Board of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control. He said it passed in the Legislature without a single "no” vote.

He said the law protects horses because only vets are supposed to be able to administer the sedatives needed to work on teeth.

Done improperly, the horse could die, he said.

"It’s illegal for anyone but a veterinarian to have these drugs in their possession,” he said.

The legislator also said vets are trained to notice problems in a horse’s mouth, such as symptoms of cancer, which a lay dentist would miss.

"It’s not just grinding teeth,” he said.