By Matthew Barakat, Associated Press
McLEAN, Va. (AP) -- A retired Texas veterinarian has filed a federal lawsuit challenging state regulations that bar him from evaluating animals and giving veterinary advice over the Internet.
For several years, 69-year-old Ronald Hines of Brownsville, Texas, had been giving advice about cats, dogs, monkeys and other exotic animals over the Internet -- sometimes for free and sometimes for a flat $58 fee.
Last month, though, the Texas veterinary board suspended Hines' license for a year. They said state law bars veterinarians from relying solely on the telephone or Internet to evaluate an animal.
Hines' lawyers at the Arlington, Va.-based Institute for Justice say the rule infringes on their client's free-speech rights and is an unreasonable restriction on the profession.