Proposed Bill Would Require Vets to Report Animal AbuseSubmitted: 05/02/2013
Story By Kailey Burton

STATEWIDE - A Wisconsin senator from Madison wants all veterinarians in the state to be required to report animal abuse.

Currently state law only requires veterinarians to report suspected animal fighting. This bill would provide civil immunity for good faith reporting of abuse. Some local vets think this is a great idea.

"Right now I think some veterinarians hold back because, what if it turns into a big legal battle? And then they're not going to get that recourse or that protection for reporting it. So that probably stops some people from reporting suspected animal abuse," said Dr. Alison French, a Rhinelander veterinarian.

But others say defnining animal abuse is not so easy. The law says providing the minimum of shelter, food and water is enough. Is neglecting to treat a dog for fleas abuse? What about a cat covered in ticks?

"There isn't enough said about what is abuse, and the gray areas involved in defining abuse. Most of the abuse I see in neglect," said Dr. Ray Goodroad, another veterinarian in Rhinelander, "Where it becomes neglect and where it becomes an adequate standard of care is the tough spot."

Right now 29 states require veterinarians to report animal abuse.

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