Animal Welfare Group Challenges California Telemedicine Law

Many of us love our pets like they were our children and when they need medical care, we take them to the vet, right?  Well, the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), an animal welfare group, is now challenging California’s current telemedicine law in court saying the constraints are bad for pets and their owners.

“By limiting telemedicine, this law is restricting equitable access to animal care among California’s diverse people and geographic regions,” said Brandy Kuentzel, the San Francisco SPCA’s general counsel.

The California Veterinary Medical Board, which regulates the profession, responded that it does not comment on pending litigation.

According to the SPCA, California law “forbids veterinarians from speaking to owners about an animal’s health over the phone or internet unless they have first met in person.” The lawsuit asks that veterinarians be allowed to engage in telemedicine based on their judgment and training rather than be required to establish a formal veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

“The California Veterinary Medical Board is suggesting they don’t trust veterinarians that they licensed to make sound decisions for animals,” Kuentzel said. “The law not only restricts veterinarians and pet owners’ constitutional right to free speech, it also restricts a pet’s access to veterinary care.”

Telemedicine rules were loosened in some states when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

“People can use telemedicine for themselves and their children, so why not for their pets?” Kuentzel said. “Telemedicine can be a vital tool to improve the lives of pets and the people who love them.”

Will we soon be able to schedule a video conference re: our pet’s health? The courts will have to figure it out. No matter what the issue might be, there will always be someone around to dispute it and take it straight to court. When those terrible disputes get legal including contract issues, landlord/tenant matters, nuisance ADA claims and even collections, call in the good guy business litigator, Dean Sperling, to resolve YOUR matter with YOUR best interests in mind! 

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