Veterinarians push bill to limit low-cost animal care - FOX Carolina 21

Veterinarians push bill to limit low-cost animal care

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A cat awaits a new home at an Upstate shelter. (File/FOX Carolina) A cat awaits a new home at an Upstate shelter. (File/FOX Carolina)

A proposed bill in South Carolina could make getting low-cost medical care for your pet difficult.

Many veterinarians said low-cost clinics like animal shelters are taking a bite out of their business, and some are fighting to stop it.

Tom Felder is a Greenville veterinarian and the co-owner of the Poinsett Animal Hospital. He said like many veterinarians, he's put a lot of work into building his practice.

"Veterinarians have spent years, if not decades, building up their practice and educating their staff and getting equipment. We have many expenses to run our clinic," said Felder.

When some of his clients started going to the animal shelter for things like vaccinations at a fraction of the cost, Felder realized he was up against something with which he couldn't compete.

"It's hard to give the same price for vaccines and basic services that a nonprofit, tax-free entity can do and an entity that gets grant funding for things," said Felder.

So Upstate veterinarians like him are pushing a bill to limit the services shelters can offer for pet care. They want lawmakers to make shelters only offer their services to low-income pet owners.

"Certainly, vaccines are offered to everybody. Spay and neuter is offered to everybody. There is a growing concern that just some of the general preventative medicine will expand more and more," said Felder

But many animal shelters say if some pet owners can't find care for their furry friends at a discount, they may just opt to leave them at a shelter, making both veterinarians and animal shelters ask: who really pays?

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