Best choice for the animals: State Senate should pass this spay/neuter bill
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
May 01, 2012 | 1621 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Every year more than 150,000 dogs and cats are killed in Alabama animal shelters. The majority are healthy and would become loving companions if they were adopted. In most cases, the cost of care and feeding, euthanizing and disposal is borne by the taxpayer.

It would be cheaper for the public and more humane for the animals if this population was reduced. The best way to bring the abandoned pet “surplus” under control is through spaying and neutering.

The catch is spaying and neutering can be expensive. To help bring down the cost, nonprofit organizations created spay/neuter clinics where these services can be offered by trained veterinarians at a lower price and under safeguards for the well-being of the animals.

Alabama had four such clinics and might have more had the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Examiners not ruled that such facilities could operate only if they were owned by a state-licensed veterinarian.

To overcome this objection, legislators, who wanted to address the over-population problem and also encourage competition that would reduce the cost of spaying and neutering, introduced a bill that will allow veterinarians to work at these clinics even if a veterinarian is not the owner.

Problem solved?

No.

Although the state board had inspected the clinics and found them OK, it opposed the bill on the grounds that care in the facilities was sub-standard. It’s a reversal that suggests that its opposition was based on something other than the welfare of the animal or even the freedom of veterinarians to practice in such facilities. If the board has serious concerns about standards, the better course would be to offer ways to ensure proper treatment of animals at these sorts of clinics.

The “spay/neuter clinic protection bill” has already passed the House and today it is being debated in the Senate, where the opposition is expected to try and block it.

It would be unfortunate for taxpayers, for consumers and for the animals if this opposition carries the day.

We urge our state senators to support and pass this legislation.
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