We urgently need your help. Emancipet, and Texas non-profits providing access to veterinary care, are directly under attack right now. A bill recently introduced in the Texas House of Representatives threatens our programs, services, and the communities we serve, and a hearing on the bill has been scheduled for Monday, April 1st. I’m asking for your help to speak out against it in as many ways as you can.
Texas House Bill 3806, introduced by State Representative and House Agriculture Committee Chair, Drew Springer, aims to severely restrict the services we can provide and the people we can serve. If passed, only people who qualify as “indigent” (defined by their enrollment in one of a handful of federal or state programs) would have access to Emancipet or other non-profit veterinary clinics. The bill ALSO seeks to restrict the type and number of services we can provide, meaning we would have to cease providing lifesaving care to pets whose owners do not meet these restrictive qualifications.
Here’s how you can help right now:
- Attend the committee hearing at the Texas Capitol on Monday, April 1st and sign up to testify in opposition to the bill.
- Contact the Committee Chair’s office to express your opposition to HB 3806. Their phone number is 512-463-0526.
- Contact the other members of the House Agriculture and Livestock Committee and express your opposition to HB 3806.
- Share your story and your support – Your experiences, photos and videos will help us tell the critical story of why this work matters in the fight ahead. Please share on social media why Texas needs non-profit organizations like Emancipet. Please include #Emancipet in your posts so we can find and share them.
- Make a donation to support Emancipet. We rely on donations to fulfill our mission of making veterinary care affordable and accessible to all pet owners.
If this bill passes, hundreds of thousands of Texas pets won’t get the care they need. That means suffering for those animals and heartbreak and gut-wrenching decisions for their families. We know from research and our own experience that over a million pet owners a year already have to give up their pets for financial reasons, most commonly that they cannot afford vet care. So, thousands more will have to give up their beloved family members. Many of those pets will land in already over-burdened and under-resourced shelters and animal control departments that are stretched way too thin as it is.
Why on earth would someone support a bill that would have these consequences? I’ve been asking the same question a lot. I’ve heard some very troubling misinformation from legislative staff about the role of non-profit veterinary clinics in communities. And that perhaps veterinarians employeed by non-profits should not have the same rights to practice as veterinarians employed by for-profit companies.
Regardless of what their motivations might be, I can tell you that this bill would undo twenty years of progress in making veterinary care more accessible to pet owners. It will harm hundreds of thousands of animals whose families, due to financial or geographic barriers, rely on non-profits for veterinary care. Non-profits are often the only affordable and accessible source of veterinary care in communities across Texas (and the country).
Emancipet operates six clinics in Texas and will open our seventh later this year in Houston. We serve over 120,000 pets a year. We employ almost 100 licensed veterinarians and veterinary technicians. They are my heroes. Each of them works hard every day to provide compassionate, high quality care to Texas pets. They choose to work in non-profit community medicine because they are passionate about bringing care to pets and families who have been excluded from – and priced out of – access to traditional veterinary care. They should be celebrated for their contributions to our communities, not challenged on their veterinary expertise or having their livelihoods threatened.
So, let’s bring it on. Let’s be sure that those who would support this misguided effort know that its passage will hurt people and pets in Texas, and that we stand together on their behalf and on behalf of the nonprofit heros who serve them.
I am so grateful for all of you and for your support. Together we can be a mighty voice for compassion. Let’s be sure they hear us loud and clear.
I will be at the Capitol on Monday. I hope to see you there.
Amy Mills, CEO