The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

October 10, 2012

Lawmakers intercede in spay-neuter clinics fight

— A request from five Alabama senators could keep the state’s four low-cost spay and neuter clinics in business.

Sen. Bill Holtzclaw, R-Madison, made public Tuesday a letter dated Oct. 4 in which he and four other senators asked the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners to refrain from voting on a rule change that would all but close the state’s four low-cost, nonprofit spay and neuter clinics.

The letter is signed by Holtzclaw, Sen. Del Marsh, Sen. Cam Ward, Sen. Slade Blackwell and Sen. Jerry Fielding.

Meanwhile the state Veterinary Medical Association, which represents 750 members or about 75 percent of the state’s veterinarians, has also written a letter to the ASBVME asking board members to delay action until the legislative session.

The letters follow mounting pressure from opponents of the ASBVME’s proposed rule changes, which would:

• Prevent nonveterinarians from hiring or supervising veterinarians;

• Prevent nonvets — including nonprofit groups — from owning veterinary equipment.

Clinic owners say the board is simply trying to eliminate the clinics because they compete with private veterinarians. The four low-cost clinics, which are owned independently by separate nonprofit groups, have performed about 100,000 spay and neuter surgeries.

The letters

The letter sent by the five senators to the ASBVME states that a proposed bill that would have allowed the clinics garnered support last session but “died in the basket” as lawmakers ran out of time in the session. The letter reads:

“It is our understanding that as a rule making body, working within the legislative authority granted by statute, that you are considering imposing a new rule that will limit or restrict low-cost spay/neuter clinics from operating in Alabama. (The title of the rule is ‘Exercise of Independent Professional Judgement by Veterinarians; Prohibited Business Arrangements or Relationships.’)

“As we are all aware, House Bill 156, introduced by Rep. Patricia Todd, was heavily debated during the 2012 regular legislative session. Legislators received numerous emails and phone calls from both sides of the issue throughout the legislative session, and the bill was tirelessly worked by both parties. Through the spirit of cooperation, the bill received no less than six amendments and a version of HB 156 passed the House with 73 ‘yes’ votes and 26 ‘no’ votes. A further amended version passed the Senate with 27 ‘yes’ votes. In the end, due to time constraints within the 2012 session, no final action was taken and the bill ‘died in the basket.’

“It is apparent that both sides are passionate about this matter and work remains to be done. Therefore, we respectfully request that no rule changes be implemented that would affect the current status of low-cost spay and neuter clinics from operating in Alabama. This matter should be taken up again in the 2013 Legislative Session (convening in February) and through continued collaborative efforts, we are confident that a solution can be crafted which both sides are able to support.”

Text Only
Local News
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee