HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A bill that further protects Alabama's non-profit spay and neuter clinics is on the agenda for the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday.
House Bill 188 passed in the state house but now faces a vote in the senate.
Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Jefferson), the bill's sponsor, said she hopes the senate lawmakers will vote on HB-188 by Thursday.
If passed, the bill would cement protections for Alabama's four low-cost, non-profit spay and neuter clinics to operate.
Staff at North Alabama Spay Neuter Clinic in Huntsville said HB-188 serves as a compromise between spay and neuter clinics and full service veterinarian businesses.
The clinic's veterinarian, Dr. Joy Baird, said the bill would enable veterinarians like herself to operate non-profit clinics and ensure the best care for pets.
"It allows me to practice the same amount of medicine as every other vet clinic. Basically, it states that a veterinarian has to be on the premises but they are allowed to choose whatever medicines, treatments; whatever they feel necessary to treat their patients," Dr. Baird said.
Last year, the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners proposed a set of rules that would have prevented non-profit spay and neuter clinics from hiring vets or owning their own equipment for the procedures.
Vets and staff at non-profit clinics throughout the state said the proposals would have ultimately shut them down.
The proposals were rejected in October after protests and public hearings in Montgomery.
Todd said HB-188 also clarifies standards required for quality of care at non-profit spay-neuter clinics. She said it would also officially put these requirements in statute.
A separate bill, Senate Bill 25, sponsored by Sen. Paul Bussman (R-Cullman), also lays out standards for non-profit spay-neuter clinics.
Todd said SB-25 and would not allow non-profit clinics to administer rabies vaccines and would not permit pets to stay at non-profit spay-neuter clinics longer than 36 hours.