Equine dentists, or teeth floaters, would not face criminal charges for practicing their skills under a bill that won passage in a House committee on Wednesday. The House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on Wednesday approved House Bill 3202 by a vote of 11-3. It now goes to the full House. More than 75 people, mostly horse owners, jammed into a committee room and part of an overflow room to show support for equine dentists. Rep. Brian Renegar, a veterinarian and a committee member, said he is concerned equine dentists could be administering sedative drugs to treat horses without the supervision of a veterinarian. "The teeth floaters over the last 10 years have had six injuries and one death from working on horses’ teeth,” said Renegar, D-McAlester. "Veterinarians who have worked on horses’ teeth have had zero deaths and zero injuries.” Teeth in horses continue to grow. They should be filed down at least once a year to prevent sharp edges from cutting gums and to ensure horses are able to chew food properly. Representatives of horse owners and trainers have said owners should have the right to choose who treats their horses. The bill’s author, Rep. Don Armes, said there’s no guarantee horse owners, who can get prescriptions from their veterinarians, are using the drugs properly. Horse owners are allowed to administer the drugs or have anyone they hire administer them. Armes, chairman of the committee, said the issue of drugs is a smoke screen. It’s about classifying equine dentistry as animal husbandry and moving it out from being a veterinary practice, he said. "These guys are very good at what they do,” said Armes, R-Faxon. Armes said there are not enough licensed veterinarians in the state to offer equine dentistry for the approximately 325,000 horses in Oklahoma. The veterinary board has said 353 of 1,807 veterinarians practice equine dentistry here while there are only about 30 equine dentists in the state. Legislation approved last year made it a misdemeanor for equine dentists to work on horses unless under supervision of a veterinarian or are veterinarians or veterinarian technicians. A law passed two years ago made the offense a felony; an equine dentist was arrested and charged last year, and horse owners during last year’s session successfully mounted a drive to change the law.