Support HB 859 to protect the right of humane workers to provide medical care to animals they own.

  • by: Maggie Forbes
  • target: Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (TSBVME)
  • The Texas State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (TSBVME) considers it illegal for shelter employees to provide basic treatment (vaccination, de-worming, etc.) for cats and dogs that enter Texas Animal Shelters unless a veterinarian examines each animal!  This applies to other non-profit groups like rescue organizations (Letter from ED of TSBVME 2012). 
  • TSBVME passed Board Rule §573.80(14) on August 29, 2013 saying that Texas dogs and cats DO NOT LIVE IN HERDS, which prevents shelter vets from being able to treat them as a group when they are sick, as is done in food animal production every day! 
  • It is unreasonable to expect every rescue group and shelter to have a licensed Vet examine every animal prior to providing basic health care. Most Texas shelters do not have funds to pay a veterinarian, and most staff are well trained in vaccination and parasite removal.
  • This Board Rule and Opinion are in direct opposition to 2010 Shelter Standards issued by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians.  Rule §573.80(14) was passed in the face of objections of a vast majority of experts in the field of shelter medicine.  Other states allow such care.
  • This rule needs to be rescinded immediately, to allow care of dogs and cats who live in herds in shelters using herd medicine as they have been cared for for decades.
  • Non-profits have every right to operate in the marketplace alongside private practices.  The TVMA (Texas Veterinary Medical Association) actually began a Task Force on Non-Profits several years ago to address the “problem” of non-profits.  However, TVMA is actively working to pass new legislation that will allows shelter lay staff to vaccinate and deworm on intake, and organized shelter veterinarians to testify against RULE §573.80(14) prior to its passage.
  • These TSBVME rules and opinions target veterinarians working for shelters and non-profits.  The TSBVME should focus on what is best for animals living in Texas shelters, not what is most beneficial for the financial well being of private veterinary practices.

Demand that the TSBVME rescind this rule and reconsider their current enforcement of shelter intake procedures immediately!  Don’t criminalize the shelter and rescue community for vaccinating and treating homeless animals.

Links and words in italics were added 6-22-14.

7-20-14 Update - TVMA has plans to hire a lobbyist to assist in the passage of state legislation that will provide an exception for shelter lay staff to be able to vaccinate and deworm strays on intake using over the counter products, and according to a protocol developed in consultation with a veterinarian.  THANK YOU TVMA FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT ON THIS ISSUE!!

1-23-15 Update - TVMA has decided to support this petition on the vaccination on intake and herd medicine issues, but opposes this petition on owner exemption issues.  Our most recent update is that TVMA will be filing a bill soon, and we will post a link to that bill along with our comments just as soon as we do.  SUPPORT HB 859!!  While HB 859 does not address the vaccination on intake and herd medicine issues, it does protect the very important right of people to provde medical care to animals they own, using materials legally in their possession, and according to laws which require us to treat animals humanely.  Contact your Representative Now and express support for HB 859.  Be the voice for Texas shelter animals!

Update #21 years ago
TVMA has prepared a bill that addresses Vet Board positions opposing vaccination on intake and herd medicine in shelters, but eliminates the right to provide medical care to owned animals using materials legally in your possession. We strongly oppose the TVMA bill, and strongly support a HB 859, which preserves the right to provide medical care to owned animals.
Update #12 years ago
The TVMA Board is meeting this week to discuss changes to Shelter Medicine in Texas. They will discuss how animals entering shelters can be treated (for example vaccinated and wormed). This is on the agenda because YOU SUPPORTED THIS PETITION! Before this petition, the TVMA was not aware of the public’s opinions on this issue or how shelters struggle to maintain the health of animals in herds. NOW IS THE TIME to support this petition. THANK YOU!
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