On 28 October 2019, Dr Bernard Nadolny, a registered chiropractor, was found guilty of six out of seven counts of unlawfully providing veterinary treatment for fee or reward whilst not being a qualified person or providing that treatment through the instrumentality of a qualified person, contrary to section 39(1) of the Veterinary Practice Act 2003 (SA) ('the Act').
His Honour Magistrate Nitschke recorded a conviction for each count and imposed a global fine of $11,000.
The purpose of section 39 of the Act is to protect animal health, safety and welfare, and the public interest by making it an offence to provide veterinary treatment for fee or reward unless that treatment is provided by, or through the instrumentality of, a qualified person (being a registered veterinary surgeon), or by an unqualified person (such as a registered health professional) in prescribed circumstances.
Registered health professionals, including chiropractors, are only able to provide veterinary treatment, as unqualified persons, where that treatment is provided 'in accordance with the directions of a veterinary surgeon', pursuant to regulation 6(c) of Veterinary Practice Regulations 2017.
In the matter of Veterinary Surgeons Board of South Australia v Bernard Nadolny, his Honour found that the phrase 'in accordance with the directions of a veterinary surgeon' "connotes a hierarchy of control and supervision exercised by a veterinary surgeon over relevant treatment provided by the [registered] health professional".
His Honour commented that a mere 'referral' from a veterinary surgeon to a registered health professional will not satisfy the requirement for the veterinary treatment to be provided 'in accordance with the directions of a veterinary surgeon'.
His Honour further commented that a veterinary surgeon should positively communicate with the registered health professional prior to the provision of veterinary treatment by the registered health professional, and that a human health professional should positively communicate with the veterinary surgeon following veterinary treatment to ensure that the treatment was provided in accordance with the veterinary surgeon's directions.