(a) A veterinarian licensed under the provisions of this chapter shall not disclose any information concerning an animal receiving veterinary services, the client responsible for the animal receiving veterinary services, or the veterinary care provided to an animal, except under any one of the following circumstances:
(1) Upon written or witnessed oral authorization by knowing and informed consent of the client responsible for the animal receiving services or an authorized agent of the client.
(2) Upon authorization received by electronic transmission when originated by the client responsible for the animal receiving services or an authorized agent of the client.
(3) In response to a valid court order or subpoena.
(4) As may be required to ensure compliance with any federal, state, county, or city law or regulation, including, but not limited to, the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code ).
(5) Nothing in this section is intended to prevent the sharing of veterinary medical information between veterinarians or facilities for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of the animal who is the subject of the medical records.
(6) As otherwise provided in this section.
(b) This section shall not apply to the extent that the client responsible for an animal or an authorized agent of the client responsible for the animal has filed or caused to be filed a civil or criminal complaint that places the veterinarian's care and treatment of the animal or the nature and extent of the injuries to the animal at issue, or when the veterinarian is acting to comply with federal, state, county, or city laws or regulations.
(c) A veterinarian shall be subject to the criminal penalties set forth in Section 4831 or any other provision of this code for a violation of this section. In addition, any veterinarian who negligently releases confidential information shall be liable in a civil action for any damages caused by the release of that information.
(d) Nothing in this section is intended to prevent the sharing of veterinary medical information between veterinarians and peace officers, humane society officers, or animal control officers who are acting to protect the welfare of animals.
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