Washington state VMAs successfully fend off mandatory reporting proposal

A proposed ordinance that would force veterinarians in Washington state's King County to submit client information to the county after every rabies vaccine administration has been shelved.

The county's intent was to increase pet licensing numbers and revenue among cat and dog owners by leveraging the veterinarian-contributed client information. But local veterinarians feared that mandatory reporting could jeopardize their clients' trust and even cause clients to forego rabies vaccinations for their pets.

The effort to do away with the proposed ordinance required involvement from WSVMA, PSVMA, and thousands of local pet owners, the WSVMA said in a message to its members.

According to the association, WSVMA and PSVMA members and staff addressed King County's General Accounting and Oversight Committee to voice their concerns about the proposed ordinance. In addition, a petition that was delivered to King County offices early this month gathered nearly 8,000 signatures from concerned pet owners and veterinary professionals during July and August.

Another 900 people signed a change.org petition titled "Don't make veterinarians rat out their clients," WSVMA reported.

Although the ordinance is no longer on the table, WSVMA and PSVMA are currently collaborating with King County government to create a program that encourages pet owners to voluntarily buy pet licenses. Once the program is fully developed, details will be shared with veterinarians in the area.

"The resulting success of our efforts demonstrates the value of organized veterinary medicine," the WSVMA said in its announcement to members. "Without our collective efforts, a mandatory reporting ordinance would most certainly have been passed by the Council and your client's information would no longer be confidential."

NEWStat Legislation & regulation