Columbia, SC — Pawmetto Lifeline works side by side with veterinarians on a daily basis. We have great respect for their work and want to assist them in our similar goals of doing what is best for the animals in our community and the community as a whole.
But the bill they are pushing in the Legislature will threaten the sustainability of most animal shelters, create a burden on taxpayers and jeopardize the well-being of homeless pets. H.3492 adds regulations and limits citizens’ access to low-cost spay-neuter and other essential medical services.
This could establish an unenforceable mandate that actually accelerates the cycle of pet overpopulation, mistreatment and taxpayer expense that all animal shelters are challenged with curbing and preventing.
The bill redefines the term “animal shelter” and limits a shelter’s ability to provide spay-neuter, microchip and rabies vaccinations to citizens unless they meet new definitions of “low income.” This would add another layer of paperwork and more hurdles for citizens looking for a low-cost way to do the right thing for their animals.
Low-cost spay and neuter, microchipping and vaccine services are the only way for many pet owners to have these procedures and other medical needs met for their pet, especially in a struggling economy. By further limiting access to medical services, we can expect to see even more animals entering our shelters, increasing euthanasia rates and taxpayer burdens.
I hope legislators will consider the impact this bill will have on all taxpayers, not just the for-profit veterinarian clinics.
The clinics believe that publicly funded organizations have an unfair advantage for obtaining clients because of the more-affordable pricing at not-for-profits, but not-for-profits have offered fee-based services and have run retail businesses for decades. By limiting our services, the veterinarians are trying to limit their own competition. (And to clarify: Pawmetto Lifeline receives no money from the government, and we own no part of the Meyer Finlay Pet Adoption Center.) Not-for-profit hospitals serve all people, not just low-income people, and they offer more than basic services.
Universities have book stores. YMCAs sell memberships that compete against for-profit gyms. There are thousands of similar examples. We should not treat publicly funded organizations that serve animals any different than other organizations.
Vice President, Pawmetto Lifeline