Monday, June 15, 2015

Kill the Bill, Save the Animals

If SC Bill S.687 becomes law, municipal shelters across this state will be forced to euthanize all of the animals in their care instead of providing adoptions to the public.

SC Bill S.687, authored by the South Carolina Veterinary Association, simply put, will be directly responsible for unprecedented mass euthanasia of companion pets in the State of South Carolina. 

In a State that already struggles with some of the highest euthanasia rates of shelter animals in the country, this bill will mean certain death caused by the very professionals who swore an oath of protection for animals and it is all in the name of greed.

Let me be perfectly clear, I am not implying all veterinarians are greed-driven and compassion-less.  In fact, I think there are many veterinarians who would vehemently oppose this bill given the facts and consideration of the consequences of such a bill.

Unfortunately, I have first-hand knowledge that this bill was borne out of an attempt to “control and crush” what its makers’ perceive to be competition for their market share.  In fact, this is not even thinly veiled by the South Carolina Veterinary Association’s (SCAV).

In their Winter 2012 publication, it states:  “For several years, animal shelters in South Carolina have been increasing the amount of services they provide beyond spay/neuter services of stray pets.”  The article goes on to state: “These services are all provided at low costs when compared to prices charged by veterinary clinics, and they are being provided to the general public regardless of income."  The article continues further to state that: “Incorporated as not for profits, these organizations are exempt from paying the taxes that veterinary clinic owners must pay.”  Throughout the entire article there is just one vague mention of the quality of care of animals that received in shelters and rescues – clearly not their primary concern.

It’s about money, plain and simple.

But what the SCAV asserts in their 2012 publication is not true. Non profit clinics get discounts on vaccines and other preventative medicines because of the volume of these items ordered, not because they are non profits. Non Profits DO pay taxes, although their tax exempt status means they don't pay the same taxes a for profit business might. But the reason for this is because the revenue generated by not for profit organizations are used to provide services in the community. Rescue organizations use the funds from programs like mobile vaccine services to rescue homeless pets who are eventually adopted and become clients for private vets in the community, supporting both the cause and the for profit businesses.  

And it will hurt the local municipal shelters. They simply will not be able to shoulder the burdens this bill requires.  Or at least, the municipalities will not be able to provide the resources needed to comply without significantly taxing their citizens.

In addition, the bills effectively stand to reverse the good work of spay/neuter shelters across the state by limiting additional services strictly to low income households (which SCAV would like defined as households making less than 80% of median income for the county in which they live).  In communities where we are finally starting to see a decline in shelter intake due to preventative care for heartworms and other illnesses, we will now see the number of pets surrendered because they can't afford treatments.  So, not only will the veterinarians who drafted this bill be responsible for the wholesale slaughter of animals in municipal shelters, they will be directly responsible for increasing ill animals and subsequently shelter intake  by significantly limiting the ability of clinics to address the root of the problem. 

Future posts will discuss in detail each facet of the Bill and what its likely impact will be on our state.  Make no mistake these bills are bad for the animals, bad for public health and bad for taxpayers.  SC citizens must say no!

Currently Senate Bill S.687 is in committee. We are asking that all subcommittee meetings open to the public be attended by those that support animal welfare and OPPOSE this bill. The date will be posted on this blog, our Facebook event page, and also on other social media platforms. Your support is invaluable.

Tell these elected leaders that you disagree with their support of this bill by calling:
Please take the time to tell these Senators exactly how you feel about that.

Senator Danny Verdin: (803) 212-6230

Senator Katrina Shealy: (803) 212-6108

Senator Thomas McElveen: (803) 212-6132

Senator George Campsen: (803) 212-6340

Senator Greg Hembree: (803) 212-6016

Senator Kevin Johnson: (803) 212-6048

Senator Kent Williams: (803) 212-6000

Senator Tom Corbin: (803) 212-6100

Senator Vincent Sheheen: (803) 212-6032

Senator Paul Campbell: (803) 212-6016

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