ACTION NEEDED: A hearing is scheduled on February 1st at 10 a.m. for Senate Bill 6196, a bill that would give shelters and animal control agencies the ability to offer expanded veterinary care for low-income pet owners.
Washington’s current law is extremely restrictive, allowing non-profit animal shelters and animal control agencies to provide only spay/neuter, microchipping and vaccines for pets of low-income clients.
Senate Bill 6196 proposes to expand the law to allow these agencies to help low-income clients with additional veterinary care so they can care for and keep their beloved companions – instead of delaying care, surrendering them to a shelter to get care, or even making the heart-breaking decision of having them euthanized, often referred to as “economic euthanasia”.
Many of your agencies understand the challenges faced by individuals and families who love their pet, but lack the finances to address unexpected medical challenges or even routine medical care. The bill would give non-profits and animal control agencies, whose mission already involves keeping animals with their families, the opportunity to expand their medical services to address many of these scenarios.
The proposed law is not intended to undermine the relationships and client-base of veterinary practices, specialty clinics or emergency practices. Rather to create a needed safety net for animals who would otherwise go without the care or whose care would be delayed while the family worked to scrape together the resources or find a program that funds one-time needs.
We need your agency to take action by submitting testimony to the committee (see below for instructions). If you would like to testify in person or have a client that can come to Olympia to share their story, please let me know as we are gathering a list to ensure the committee hears from a variety of stakeholders.
Have clients you’ve helped with medical expenses? Or have volunteers or supporters who would like to weigh in, please encourage them to do so as they can easily submit a comment on the bill: https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/bill//6196
As an agency, you might want to send more detailed testimony and then email it to all of the committee members – see below.
We’ve also included some talking points developed by the Humane Society of Southwest Washington, who have been working with committee chair and bill sponsor, Senator Annette Cleveland, to bring this bill before the legislature.
Thank you for taking action prior to February 1st to voice your support for expanding veterinary care options for pets of low-income clients across Washington State!
Senate Health & Long-Term Care Committee Members
|Cleveland, Annette (D)
|Kuderer, Patty (D)
|Rivers, Ann (R)
|Bailey, Barbara (R)||10||(360) 786-7618|
|Becker, Randi (R)||2||(360) 786-7602|
|Conway, Steve (D)||29||(360) 786-7656|
|Fain, Joe (R)||47||(360) 786-7692|
|Keiser, Karen (D)||33||(360) 786-7664|
|Mullet, Mark (D)||5||(360) 786-7608|
|Van De Wege, Kevin (D)||24||(360) 786-7646|
Please feel free to share this message with other agencies, as well as veterinarians who you know to be open to the idea of non-profits / government animals shelter helping with additional veterinary care for qualified low-income clients. Key message points can be found here.