By:  Springer                                     H.B. No. 3806





relating to veterinary services provided by releasing agencies.


SECTION 1.  Section 828.001, Health and Safety Code, is amended by adding Subsections 828.001(5).

Sec. 828.001.  DEFINITIONS.  In this chapter: (1) “New owner” means a person who is legally competent to enter into a binding contract and who is adopting a dog or cat from a releasing agency.

(2)  “Releasing agency” means a public or private animal pound, shelter, or humane organization. The term does not include an individual who occasionally renders humane assistance or shelter in the individual’s home to a dog or cat.

(3)  “Sterilization” means the surgical removal of the reproductive organs of a dog or cat or the use of nonsurgical methods and technologies approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration or the United States Department of Agriculture to permanently render the animal unable to reproduce.

(4)  “Veterinarian” means a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine by the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.

(5)  “Nonprofit” means an organization that provides veterinary medical care to animals that is exempt from taxation under Chapter 22 of the Business Organizations Code or by the Internal Revenue Service under 26 U.S.C. § 501 (c).

SECTION 2.  Section 828.0035, Health and Safety Code, is amended by adding Subsections (3) and (4).

Sec. 828.0035.  STATE BOARD OF VETERINARY MEDICAL EXAMINERS.  The State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners shall:

(1)  develop information sheets regarding surgical or nonsurgical sterilization to be distributed by a releasing agency to a new owner; and

(2)  adopt rules requiring an animal that has been sterilized under this chapter to receive an identification marker in a manner authorized by the board.

(3)  enforce Health and Safety Code Section 828.012 under the authority of Occupations Code 801.402, 801.508 and 801.504.

(4)  establish a list of acceptable programs under Sec. 828.012(b)(1).

SECTION 4.  Section 828.012, Health and Safety Code, is amended by amending Subsections (b) and adding (b)(1).

Sec. 828.012.  SURGERY AND OTHER VETERINARY SERVICES.  (a) Surgery or nonsurgical sterilization performed in accordance with this chapter must be performed by a veterinarian or a full-time student of an accredited college of veterinary medicine as provided by Chapter 801, Occupations Code.

(b)  A veterinarian employed by a releasing agency or non-profit may not perform nonemergency veterinary services other than sterilization and vaccinations on an animal that the releasing or non-profit agency knows or should know has an owner. However, this subsection does not prevent a veterinarian employed by a releasing agency or non-profit from performing veterinary services on an animal whose owner is indigent. as determined by;

(1)  enrollment in a state or federal program for which residents must meet certain low income levels to participate, including but not limited to Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Section 8 Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA), Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Veterans Administration Disability and State Children’s Health Insurance program (SCHIP).

(c)  A person associated with a releasing agency or non-profit may not interfere with the independent professional judgment of a veterinarian employed by or under contract with the releasing agency.

SECTION 5.  Section 828.013, Health and Safety Code, is amended.

Sec. 828.013.  EXEMPTIONS.  Except as provided by Health and Safety Code 828.012.  This other provisions of this chapter does do not apply to:

(1)  a dog or cat that is claimed from a releasing agency by a person who already owns the animal;

(2)  a releasing agency located in a municipality that has in effect an ordinance providing standards for dog and cat sterilization that exceed the requirements provided by this chapter;

(3)  an institution of higher education that purchases or otherwise procures a dog or cat for the purpose of biomedical research, testing, or teaching; or

(4)  a releasing agency located in:

(A)  a county with a population of 20,000 or less; or

(B)  a municipality with a population of 10,000 or less.

SECTION 6.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.