Bill calls for limiting care nonprofit vet clinics can provide

This pup, Wilbur, received vet care at a nonprofit clinic in Texas

This pup, Wilbur, received vet care at a nonprofit clinic in Texas

Animal rescue groups and nonprofit vet clinics are barking up a storm over a bill proposed in Texas which they say puts dogs and cats at risk.

House bill 3806 wants to restrict the types of care nonprofit vet clinics, which usually offer low-cost services, can provide. 

The bill calls to limit clinics to only spaying, neutering and vaccinating animals.

That means an end to nonprofit vets offering services like microchipping, health exams, x-rays, heartworm testing and treatment, unless a pet owner can prove they are so financially burdened they receive state or federal assistance. 

One of the Lone Star State's largest nonprofit vet clinics, Emancipet, sent out an email Thursday asking people to speak out against the proposed legislation, saying:

If this bill passes, hundreds of thousands of Texas pets won’t get the care they need. That means suffering for those animals and heartbreak and gut-wrenching decisions for their families. We know from research and our own experience that over a million pet owners a year already have to give up their pets for financial reasons, most commonly that they cannot afford vet care. 

Experts say low to moderate income families, who don’t receive government assistance, struggle to pay for routine vet care and depend on nonprofit clinics.

And if the bill passes it will put more dogs at risk of not being tested and treated for heartworm, which if left untreated, will eventually kill a dog. According to data from the American Heartworm Society, Texas has one of the highest rates of heartworm positive dogs in the United States. 

Some rescue groups, who depend on nonprofit vet clinics to care for their animals, told Watchdog Mary the proposal would cripple their organizations financially and diminish the number of dogs and cats they can save. 

The bill was filed by state Representative Drew Springer who is the chair for the House Agriculture Committee.  Watchdog Mary contacted his office to ask for more information about the bill and what prompted him to file. 

There is a public hearing on the bill Monday, April 1st at 10:30am.

What do you think?