Texas prohibits shelter veterinarians from operating on owned pets: An advocacy group aims to change that

Texas is the only state that prevents shelter veterinarians from operating on pets and returning the back to owners, causing a burden on shelters and pet owners
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 10:25 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GAINESVILLE, Texas (KXII) - Texas is the only state that prohibits animal shelters from giving veterinary treatment to animals with owners, advocacy group Texas Pets Alive! is pushing legislation to change that.

Our pets become family and when they get sick it can be expensive leaving some owners to choose between paying a vet bill or a grocery bill. Sick and injured pets can be treated at a shelter but at the cost of giving them up for good. Animal Technician at Noah’s Ark Animal Shelter in Gainesville, Erica Martinez, has watched the agony in owners who have no choice but to surrender their pets.

“It’s heartbreaking for them having to make that decision,” Martinez said, “and letting the owners know we can’t do anything for them is even more heartbreaking, for me, it seems like I’m failing them.”

She said it is legal reasons that become an obstacle between these animals and their families.

“Because we have the resources but the legal portion is where we can not help them,” Martinez said.

Executive Director of Texas Pets Alive!, Katie Jarl, says State Senate Bill 1673 and House Bill 3439 could help change that.

“It gets that pet the care they need but it also doesn’t separate a family from a pet that they truly love,” Jarl said.

The bill would allow shelter veterinarians the option to operate on an animal that has been turned over and return it back to the family. Shelter Manager of Noah’s Ark, Laurie D. Allen, said the bills would ease the burden on pet owners and shelters.

“I think it’s just gonna really open a door for all the shelters and give us something we can really work with and use to do a better job than we’re already trying to do,” Allen said.

The legislature makes it clear that it would not be required for shelter veterinarians to provide this free care.

The bill has been filed and is waiting to go through the hearing process in both the State Senate and the House.