Veterinarians aim to limit Humane Society services

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Competition-wary veterinarians want the 2014 Legislature to put strict limits on services that nonprofit organizations such as the Idaho Humane Society can offer pet owners.

A group of vets fears the Idaho Humane Society’s proposed new clinic in Boise will take advantage of its nonprofit status to poach business by offering more affordable services than for-profit clinics, KTVB-TV (http://tinyurl.com/kngr8wm) reported Tuesday

The Idaho Humane Society aims to build a new shelter that includes a 10,000-square-foot hospital that would triple the capacity of its existing hospital near Boise Airport. Several veterinary clinics operate within a mile of the proposed site, and the owners are worried.

Dr. Richard Shackelford, a vet at Treasure Valley Veterinary Hospital, contends the Idaho Humane Society’s new facility and clinic will endanger the survival of existing practices.

“We had a study done that said if you opened a really large practice in that location, it would have a devastating effect on the practices that are already there,” Shackelford told the TV station. “”Their practice is not a standard practice because they do not have the same tax burdens that we do.”

The vets failed to win a voluntary agreement from the Humane Society calling for it to limit its services, said Shackelford, who is now asking lawmakers to consider a bill forbidding the new facility from offering anything beyond basic veterinary services to low-income clients for spaying, neutering and micro-chipping. Washington state has a similar law.

Shackelford has distributed packets to lawmakers, hoping to find a sponsor for legislation.

The issue has also emerged in other states including South Carolina, where lawmakers this year considered limits before declining to pass legislation.

Idaho Humane Society executive director Dr. Jeff Rosenthal said his group doesn’t compete with private veterinarians. He contends its new clinic would care for sheltered animals or those from low-income owners.

Rosenthal says prices for other clients are comparable to private clinics.

“We intend to continue to focus on the low-income demographics,” he said, noting the current facility isn’t large enough to meet demand.

Rosenthal’s organization has hired a lobbyist, Jeremy Pisca, to help fend off proposed limits to its services.

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Information from: KTVB-TV, http://www.ktvb.com/

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