CVMA Represents Veterinary Profession in L.A. Shelter Issue

Since late last year, the CVMA has been actively following a proposal under consideration by the Los Angeles Animal Services Board of Animal Services Commissioners (LAAS) which, if adopted, would mandate that shelter dogs in the city of Los Angeles be fed a vegan-only diet. Despite the recommendation by the city’s Chief Veterinarian to reject the proposal, it remains under consideration by the LAAS.

In December of 2017, after learning of the proposal, the CVMA submitted a letter to the Los Angeles City Attorney informing him that California Business and Professions Code Section 460 “expressly limits a municipality’s ability to regulate the practice of a licensed professional”. In that regard, the vegan-only proposal would prevent shelter veterinarians from directing the clinical treatment of animals, which falls within a veterinarian’s scope of practice.

Since that time, a “feasibility study” has been performed at the request of the LAAS, and the CVMA understands that the results of that study are now before the Mayor of Los Angeles. The CVMA further understands that the LAAS will again take up this issue in the coming months, possibly as early as October. Thus, on Thursday, September 20, the CVMA sent a second letter to the Los Angeles City Attorney and the Deputy Chief Counsel questioning how this vegan-only proposal could remain under consideration given the parameters of Section 460.

The CVMA hopes that the vegan-only proposal will be rejected by the LAAS. However, should the proposal be adopted, the CVMA is prepared to file suit, on behalf of the veterinary profession, to halt its enforcement and have it deemed an unlawful exercise of municipal regulation.

© 2020 California Veterinary Medical Association

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