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Retired Texas vet challenges Internet restrictions

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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.

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