NEW YORK— The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today opposed efforts by the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners to institute a new rule that would prevent non-profit animal shelters from providing affordable veterinary care to their animals. In a hearing earlier today, the board opted to listen to comments from concerned citizens, shelter directors, animal advocates and veterinarians opposing a measure which would have resulted in the closure of the state's nonprofit spay/neuter clinics and voted not to approve the rule.
The ASPCA previously submitted comments in opposition to the new rule which would make it illegal for licensed veterinarians to work for non-veterinarian owned organizations. The ASPCA's comments state that the proposed rule will increase animal euthanasia, exacerbate pet overpopulation and disproportionately impact low-income Alabamans. The rule also contradicts state and federal law and defies a veterinarian’s professional obligation to reduce animal suffering and protect community health.
"Limiting the state's low-cost spay/neuter clinics would have a devastating effect on Alabama's animals," said Sherry Rout, the ASPCA’s legislative director for the Southern Region. "Not only do Alabama's low-cost spay/neuter clinics help the state's animals by reducing pet overpopulation and preventing future suffering, but they save taxpayer dollars by helping cut costs to local governments and communities who must deal with tough animal issues on a daily basis."
Currently, four spay neuter clinics, which are designated as 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable institutions, provide low cost, high-volume and high-quality spay/neuter services across the state of Alabama. For four years these clinics have assisted in humanely combating over-crowded shelters, reducing pet overpopulation and euthanasia. Their dedicated veterinarians have performed nearly 80,000 sterilization surgeries for humane shelters and qualifying low-income pet owners.
"Each year approximately five to seven million animals enter shelters across the U.S. and approximately three to four million are euthanized due to lack of space or ability to adequately care for them," added Rout. "Low-cost spay/neuter programs are one of the most powerful means by which veterinarians alleviate animal suffering and prevent death in their communities."
For more information about the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.