Veterinarians at forefront of licensing ordinance controversy

Two Indiana-based veterinarians have voiced concerns over a licensing ordinance they feel could possibly cause a conflict of interest between their practices and their clients.

The ordinance, which has been in effect for a year, has gained supporters who maintain the rules governing licensure ensure that dangerous animals are accounted for.

However, Drs. Donn E. Kryder and Jeffrey S. Vogl believe that certain portions of the ordinance may require veterinarians “to be [like] the Gestapo.”

Article excerpt (“Two Granger veterinarians trying to change parts of the county animal ordinance”- 3/16/08):

-Kryder doesnt like the part of the ordinance that requires veterinarians to fill out a certificate for every dog, cat or ferret they inoculate for rabies, regardless of whether the owner bought a license. They have to provide the information monthly to the Humane Society. Giving information to the Humane Society will allow that agency to keep files on all pet owners. That would allow the Humane Society to go after certain owners who might be in violation, Kryder said.

For example, he said, the ordinance requires a family with more than three dogs or cats to obtain a kennel or cattery permit. Kryder said he doesnt want to be the source of information about families that have more than three.

Hes also afraid the Humane Society might challenge information he puts on an animals record. If he calls a dog a boxer/cross breed, he said, he doesnt want the Humane Society to second-guess him and say the dog is actually a pit bull/cross breed.-

Supporters of the ordinance say they realize that veterinarians don’t want to betray the trust of their clients in any way, but that the safety of the county from possibly dangerous animals is paramount.

With escalating costs for unaltered animals, the ordinance is designed to remunerate both veterinarians and the Humane Society for administrative costs. Nonetheless, Kryder and Vogl say that while they “dont object to the entire ordinance,” many area veterinarians are opposed to the ordinance, “and they are among the 5,000 people who have signed petitions asking for amendments.”

Article excerpt (“Doctors question animal ordinance”- 3/26/08):

-[Kryder] doesnt necessarily object to selling pet licenses for the county, Kryder said, but doesnt think vaccination records with "confidential" information should be given to the Humane Society.

When he vaccinates a pet now, Kryder said, he keeps a copy of the records and gives a copy to the pet owner. Tying the vaccination record to the license and giving both to the Humane Society is what he and other veterinarians dont like, Kryder said.

Vogl agreed. He said those requirements in the ordinance target the wrong people.

Conscientious pet owners, those who license and vaccinate their dogs and cats, are not the ones the Humane Society should be targeting, he said. The owners of vicious pets or those who keep too many animals are not likely to follow the vaccination or licensing laws, so no records of them would exist, he said.

Based on his experience, Kryder said, he thinks 80 percent of pet owners dont even know the ordinance exists.--

After meeting with the county council, Kryder and Vogl were encouraged to draft the amendments they’d like to see made to the ordinance and present them upon completion. It isn’t currently known when those amendments will be presented.

SOURCE: “Two Granger veterinarians trying to change parts of the county animal ordinance” by Nancy J. Sulok (South Bend Tribune – 3/16/08) & “Doctors question animal ordinance” by Nancy J. Sulok (South Bend Tribune – 3/26/08)