MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A state board has rejected a proposed rule that would have closed the doors of nonprofit spay and neuter animal clinics in Alabama.
Cheers and applause echoed through the hallway outside the boardroom after the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners unanimously voted Wednesday.
"I'm very pleased," said Mark Nelson, executive director of Alabama Spay-Neuter Clinic in Irondale. "The public spoke, and the board listened,"
The board rejected a proposed rule that would have prohibited non-veterinarians from hiring veterinarians and would prohibit non-veterinarians, including nonprofit groups, from owning veterinarian equipment.
"I'm delighted," said Rachel Tears, the founder of the Alabama Animal Alliance in Montgomery.
Board attorney Alyce Addison said she recommended to the board not to approve the rule. She said if the board decided to make the rule in favor, she thought they would have created a law rather than just passing regulations.
Earlier, a protest was held at a public hearing earlier to combat the proposed rule. Speakers said that the state was already struggling with a severe animal overpopulation problem, and shutting down the clinics would cause an animal explosion.
Nelson said the clinics have no quality issues and the board had "all the power in the world" to shut them down.
"They'll end up starving," Nelson said. "They'll end up euthanized in shelters."
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