Legislation & regulation

  • May 26, 2009

    State with last annual rabies vaccination law prepares to change

    Alabama is the last state in the union with a state law requiring annual rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats, but that is most likely about to change. The existing law requires owners of dogs and cats to vaccinate their pets against rabies “when said animal reaches three months of age and annually thereafter.” Under the proposed rule, known as SB 469, revaccinations would be required “when the animal reaches three months of age and subsequently in accordance with the intervals specified in the vaccines license.” The new rule would also require ferrets to be vaccinated for rabies. Gov. Bob Riley is expected to sign SB 469 into law, since the measure was approved by the Alabama Legislature, 101-0, on May 14.
  • May 26, 2009

    EPA continues gathering spot-on product data

    As part of its increased scrutiny of spot-on flea and tick products, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency met with product manufacturers on May 5, an agency spokesman said, though no action has been taken yet. The agency also confirmed that an original list of products under scrutiny was updated to make the list include all registered products. “We received a request from the industry to remove the original list of products because it was incomplete and therefore misleading,” said EPA Press Officer Dale Kemery. “Once we were able to develop a complete list of products we returned the list to the Web site.”
  • May 12, 2009

    State pet protection bills move forward

    Legislation geared toward improving the lives of companion animals is moving through the legislative process in several states. Washington and Ohio are advancing bills that would help protect pets in domestic violence cases by granting custody of pets to victims, or including pets in different types of protection orders. In Vermont, a bill is awaiting the governor’s signature that would add an aversive agent to a common product that is deadly to animals.
  • April 28, 2009

    FTC ‘Red Flags’ rule enforcement begins this week

    UPDATE: FTC grants 3-month extension on Red Flags rule enforcement The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced April 30 that it would push back its enforcement deadline for the identity-theft-related Red Flags rule until Aug. 1. This information became available after NEWStat’s press time. Read more on the extension here. On May 1, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will begin enforcement of the new “Red Flags” Rule. The rule applies to certain types of businesses – including many veterinary practices - and is designed to help detect and stop identity theft. Does your practice need to comply with the rule? The key to the answer lies in two points: If you are a “creditor,” and you have “covered accounts” as defined by the rule, then your practice must comply. According to the FTC rule, the term “creditor” includes “businesses or organizations that regularly defer payment for goods or services or provide goods or services and bill customers later.” Accepting credit cards as payment does not necessarily qualify you as a creditor, but if you allow clients to pay off their bills over time, or if you bill clients after services are performed, then you are a creditor.
  • April 28, 2009

    EPA to meet with spot-on flea/tick product manufacturers

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is meeting next week with manufacturers of spot-on flea and tick control products, three weeks after the agency issued an advisory about the safety of some of those products. An advisory on the EPA website dated April 16 said the agency has seen a “sharp increase” in the incidence of adverse effects from spot-on pesticides. As a result, the agency is “intensifying its evaluation of whether further restrictions on the use of these products are necessary to better protect pets.” The EPA is also careful to note that “a cause and effect relationship between these products and any individual adverse reaction or incident has not been confirmed.”
  • April 14, 2009

    Texas House ponders vicious dog bill

    Texas lawmakers are considering a new “dangerous and vicious dog” bill, but Texas veterinary professionals are opposed to the measure. The bill makes several changes to the state’s existing law regarding dangerous dogs, including the addition of the word “vicious.” Dogs defined as vicious under the bill would need to be registered, insured for at least $100,000 against potential damages from an attack, and restrained or confined at all times. H.B. 1982 defines a “vicious dog” as a dog that is capable of inflicting serious injury or death due to its “physical nature and vicious propensity;” is highly aggressive and “appears to a reasonable person to be able to escape from the enclosure,” or behaves in a manner such that the owner or another person believes it will attack. Texas A&M University professor Bonnie Beaver, DVM, MS, DACVB, said the changes do not improve the original law, and the Texas VMA is opposed to the legislation.
  • March 17, 2009

    California VMB approves controversial technician exam rule

    Unregistered veterinary assistants in California without a formal education have a rare opportunity this year, but not everyone is happy about it. Under a new regulation implemented by the California Veterinary Medical Board (CVMB), veterinary assistants with at least five years’ experience and 24 hours of continuing education credits can apply for the state’s Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) exam. Applicants must also have their supervising veterinarian attest to their competence in entry-level technician skills. However, state and national veterinary groups are at best wary of the regulation, with some organizations voicing strong opposition, saying the rule puts the public and animals at risk.
  • March 3, 2009

    North Carolina debates shelter euthanasia law

    If it passes, a bill before the North Carolina State Legislature would ban the use of carbon monoxide gas chambers as a way of euthanizing shelter animals. House Bill 6 proposes a ban on the use of CO gas chambers, which are used in more than 30 counties in the state, according to local media. The new law would require shelter euthanasias to be performed by only licensed veterinarians or certified euthanasia technicians using intravenous, intraperitoneal, or oral administration of sodium pentobarbital or its approved equivalent. It also adds the provision: “No animal shelter may maintain on its premises any facility or equipment used for the euthanasia of animals with carbon monoxide or any other gas.” But the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association (NCVMA) opposes the bill, which goes before the House Agriculture Committee this week.
  • January 6, 2009

    Get your practice ready for the “Red Flags Rule”

    This year, many veterinary practices will be required to comply with the federal “Identity Theft Red Flags and Address Discrepancies Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003,” otherwise know as the “Red Flags Rule.” A Federal Trade Commission website helps explain the rule –designed to fight identity theft – and lays out the terms under which a business would need to follow it. Under the rule, which exists on the books now but will not be enforced until May 1, businesses that qualify as “creditors” and have “covered accounts” must develop and implement identity theft prevention programs. Accepting credit cards as payment does not necessarily qualify a business as a” creditor” under the rule, but businesses that bill consumers after services are provided are considered creditors.
  • October 28, 2008

    Pennsylvania passes anti-puppy mill legislation

    Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell signed House Bill 2525 into law earlier this month at a Langhorne, Pa., animal hospital. The so-called “Puppy Mill Bill” represents an important step toward improving the lives of the state’s dogs. The 102-page law, signed Oct. 9, takes aim at commercial breeders that operate puppy mills, for which the state is infamous. Many of the major changes pertain to breeders who sell dogs to dealers or pet shops, or who sell more than 60 dogs per year. Charlene Wandzilak, executive director of the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA), said her organization sees the bill as a big step toward better care for dogs kept by large commercial breeders. “It is a significant improvement in providing humane treatment, ensuring standards for exercise and living conditions, and a regular program of veterinary care including two exams per year per dog and euthanization only by a veterinarian,” Wandzilak said. “It is a great stride toward advancing the welfare of dogs in Pennsylvania and PVMA is proud of our contribution to ensuring this happened. Now, it will be a matter of enforcement and compliance.”