King County Council’s GAO Committee hears mandatory reporting issue
Council members from King County Council’s General Accounting and Oversight Committee met Tuesday, July 22, 2014 to hear an update from officials at Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC) as to the proposed plans to increase pet licensure, including forcing veterinarians to report private client information.
WSVMA and PSVMA representatives had the opportunity to speak during the public comment period and provided feedback on why forcing veterinarians to report clients is a bad idea. Dr. Mike Bellinghausen, Dr. Henk Kunnen, Dr. Kate Shubert and Candace Joy presented arguments aimed at educating council members.
Council members Rod Dembowski, Reagan Dunn, Dave Upthegrove and committee chair Pete Von Reichbauer questioned RASKC personnel during the meeting and stated several times that they feel mandatory reporting is the wrong approach to increasing licensure. The budget problem stands, however, and while the Council may not approve such a program, it could go to the Board of Health, which is an autonomous regulating body where a mandatory rabies reporting program could be passed.
Meetings between the County and WSVMA/PSVMA continue as new avenues are explored to increase licensure without forcing veterinarians to comply. In the meantime, signatures should still be submitted from clients and interested parties and council members need to hear from constituents.
To date, the WSVMA and PSVMA have collected over 6,500 signatures between petitions placed at veterinary practices and a change.org online petition. At the County’s request, the signatures on the petitions received so far will be redacted for last name and street address and delivered to county offices next week.