- Associated Press - Thursday, April 3, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A bill aimed at protecting nonprofit spay-neuter clinics operating in Alabama stalled in the state Senate on the last day of the legislative session.

The bill passed in the House in February and was on the Senate’s work agenda Thursday. But senators voted to take it off the work agenda after an opponent of the bill, Republican Sen. Paul Bussman of Cullman, started stalling tactics that threatened to keep other bills from coming up for consideration because the session had to end Thursday night. He said proponents of the bill had not tried to work out a compromise with him.

State law currently says veterinary medicine practices have to be owned by veterinarians, but four nonprofit clinics are offering spay and neuter operations at low costs to try to reduce the number of stray and unwanted animals. The clinics hire vets to do the procedures.

The bill permitted the clinics to spay and neuter operations, treatments for parasites, and rabies shots for one year, but nothing more.

Some full-service veterinarians see the clinics as cut-rate competition and have opposed their operation, particularly if they offer more than operations.

“They only do spay/neuter. Most vet clinic’s bread and butter is made off of annual visits and ‘Oh, my cat’s sick.’ It’s not spay/neuter,” the bill’s sponsor, Democratic Rep. Patricia Todd, said.

This marked the third year the legislation has stalled.

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