Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Under Attack in Alabama
Oct. 10 vote likely to close s/n clinics statewide
September 20, 2012
Each year Alabama animal shelters euthanize more than 150,000 cats and dogs including ferals, unwanted litters and friendly pets for whom there are simply not enough adoptive homes. The urgent need for more spay/neuter resources is clear but though there are currently just four low-cost s/n clinics in Alabama, soon there are likely to be none. That's because the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (ASBVME) is seeking to shut down every low-cost spay/neuter clinic in the state. The reason? ASBVME views these clinics as competition. They and members of the Alabama Veterinary Practice Owners Association (AVPOA) want a monopoly on veterinary care. Among their targets have been the high-volume low-cost clinics Alabama Spay/Neuter which serves 13 counties in Central Alabama and Montgomery-based Alabama Animal Alliance. Each of these Humane Alliance-model facilities is capable of performing more than 100 s/n procedures per day. They fix animals with no other access to s/n care, including many ferals and pets belonging to low-income families. The loss of the state's four reduced-cost s/n clinics will cause the number of unwanted animals - and euthanasia rates - in Alabama to skyrocket.
Earlier this year ASBVME and ALVPOA, with the backing of House Speaker Mike Hubbard, were able to defeat the Spay/Neuter Clinic Protection Act (HB 156). Now, a vote is planned that will mandate the closure of all Alabama's low-cost s/n clinics. The vote is scheduled for Wednesday, October 10, 2012 in Montgomery. The grassroots group Alabama Voters for Responsible Animal Legislation (AVRAL) concedes that the vote cannot be stopped, but there are steps advocates can take to stand up for the animals.
What Alabama residents can do:
- Do whatever it takes to be in Montgomery the morning of October 10! Veterinarians representing ASBVME and ALVPOA are expected to show up in full force. Animal advocates have got to be there as well!
- Write a letter to Governor Robert Bentley and each member of the legislature, noting ASBVME's blatant attempt to monopolize veterinary care in Alabama. Remember to emphasize that the result of the vote will be an increase in homeless animals statewide - in turn impacting taxpayers who must pay for shelter costs. While there is nothing even the legislature can do to stop this process, you should POLITELY express your disappointment in their failure to protect low-cost clinics in the last legislative session and express your expectation they will support animal welfare issues in the upcoming session. Legislators need to know their constituents are being vigilant! To contact Governor Bentley click here. For a list of all Alabama legislators and their email addresses click here. (Note: When writing to legislators, remember to put their addresses in the BCC line. You may get an email back saying "Sorry, there is nothing I can do" and you can reply that you realize that, but you want them to see what happens when they fail to rule in a proactive way on animal welfare issues.)
- Volunteer for AVRAL! Recruit, work events, pass out AVRAL literature, get others involved in the fight to save Alabama's animals. To volunteer, email Jamie at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Write letters to the editor of your local paper. It's a good opportunity to educate the public about this dire issue, and to let people know they should join AVRAL - the more who join, the more AVRAL can get to Montgomery on October 10.
What everyone can do:
- Contact the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (ASBVME) to express your outrage over their actions, whcih will result in suffering and harm to countless animals. Write to: ASBVME c/o Tammy Wallace, 8 Commerce St., Suite 910, Montgomery, AL 36130-5330.
- Help AVRAL grow! Right now they need to purchase massive quantities of materials to educate the public about this crisis. They cannot fight unfair laws, and protect animals without funds. To make a donation click here, or mail your check to AVRAL, P.O. Box 1868, Alabaster, AL 53007.
- Stay tuned for further developments. Updates are posted regularly on both the Alabama Spay/Neuter and AVRAL Facebook pages.
- Know the issue. Read the document ASBVME will vote on Oct. 10.
After October 10, the likelihood is that anyone in Alabama looking for low-cost spay/neuter services will need to go to Mississippi or Georgia to find them. What's happening in Alabama will hurt animals, and it can happen anywhere. Thank you for taking action, and for caring about about the animals.