Veterinarians for Animal Welfare Bill S. 687
I am president of the South Carolina Association of Veterinarians (SCAV) and I wish to express my support of Bill S.687. This bill was designed to ensure that proper care is being provided to pets in all shelters. SCAV supports and appreciates the valid public policy role of shelters, and we often work in concert with them. Licensed veterinarians typically have a close relationship with their local shelter and often volunteer time and professional services. Considering the tremendous growth of shelters and adoption groups and the differences in quality of medical care they provide, we need to update laws to ensure all animals are receiving the quality of care they deserve.
Not all shelters employ a Veterinarian. The medical services provided for both shelter owned and public animals at these shelters are not regulated by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations (the regulatory board that governs all privately owned Veterinary hospitals). Veterinarians employed by shelters are not required to maintain medical records. The current regulations specifically exempt shelter owners and veterinarians from these regulations. Veterinarians across the state have expressed concern to these shelters and have concluded that current regulations need to be revised to improve the well-being of the pets and better protect the public.
The shelter community with a volunteer pool that reaches into the hundreds is spreading misinformation and misunderstanding as they relate to Bill S. 687. I wish to correct these.
Bill S. 687 allows all shelters to continue to provide spaying and neutering, vaccinations, parasite testing and treatment and microchipping to any animal. There is nothing in the legislation that would preclude anyone from utilizing these services in the same manner they do today.
Bill S. 687 would enable low-income clients of a shelter to use any services that a shelter offers.
Bill S. 687 would allow any animal shelter to provide veterinary services for any pet that they own or are holding. It has never been our intention to restrict any care to any animal in their possession. We have met with shelter representatives multiple times to try and formulate language to ensure this. If this is not clear with the wording used then we should change the wording not kill the bill.
Bill S. 687 would not shut down any animal shelter or affect any shelter or humane societies offering adoption and education services.
Bill S. 687 would require that all medication dispensed by a shelter be labeled properly and dispensed in childproof containers. Veterinarians around the state have reported non-labeled medication dispensed in zip lock bags.
The animal shelters and animal control agencies provide a needed benefit to South Carolina by rescuing, sheltering, rehabilitating and finding good homes for animals. I strongly support these worthwhile efforts but we must ensure that the animal welfare is protected and the public health concerns are addressed. I encourage everyone to read the bill so they can understand the importance of these regulations so that protections exist for all pets.
Mary W. Keisler, DVM