Breed-specific legislation places the blame incorrectly on the dog rather than on the humans who bear the responsibility.
As many of you may already know, there has been a bit of a storm brewing in the veterinary community of South Carolina and the rest of the country over the issue of low-cost practices and rescue organizations providing medical services i.e. spay/ neuter, vaccinations, parasite treatment and microchip implantation. The concern of some of our veterinarian colleagues is that their income may be compromised by these organizations which have an unfair advantage of providing these services at a sometimes significantly discounted price due to less stringent regulation and various subsidizing resources.
As veterinarians and practice owners, Leslie and I fully understand our colleague’s concern and agree on some of the issues; however we are very concerned about this proposed legislation. We have always worked hard to promote better health and care for the animals of our community, both the ones with a family and those without. We also are painfully aware of the many animals that go uncared for, that are neglected, that are homeless and are in homes in which the people do not have the means to fully and properly care for them.
Leslie and I are concerned that this animal welfare legislation S.687 has very little to do with promoting or improving the welfare of animals and more about protecting the veterinary communities own financial interest. Our greatest concern is the restriction of the ability of nonprofit organizations and other animal welfare groups to reach and care for those that are currently not being cared for. We know there are many pets in our community that are not under the care of a veterinarian due to a multitude of reasons (financial, transportation, education, etc.) which as a result of this legislation will now be “untouchable” by organizations that are designed specifically to provide care for those pets. These are pets that would not darken the door of a veterinary office to begin with, but if this legislation passes, would now not be able to get the care so very much needed. All because of the action of the community that took an oath to care for them!
Leslie and I are passionate about our calling. We are also disheartened by the organization and community that we love being a part of. We, however, are not politicians or understand what it is to be an activist, so we are reaching out to those that we know and respect who are of similar mind and are asking for your help. Please contact your senator (Lawrence Grooms or Paul Campbell, Jr of Berkeley & Charleston counties) that is on the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources and let them know about your concern. We would love to hear from you about your thoughts and opinions and of course any advice and help you may have on what we can do to make this a better piece of legislation.
David Steele, DVM Leslie Steele, DVM
Veterinarians/Owners of Advanced Animal Care of Mount Pleasant