San Francisco SPCA Challenges the Legality of the California Veterinary Medical Board’s Restrictive Telemedicine Coverage

SAN FRANCISCO, May 3, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Today the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a nonprofit animal welfare organization, filed a lawsuit against the California Veterinary Medical Board challenging the limitations on veterinarians’ ability and right to use telemedicine with pet owners talk about the health of animal patients. Currently, the law prohibits veterinarians from speaking to owners about an animal’s health by phone or online – unless they have met in person beforehand.

The lawsuit alleges that this law violates a veterinarian’s and pet owner’s right to freedom of expression under the first amendment and adversely affects animal welfare across the state by prohibiting veterinarians from advising customers over the phone or through a virtual environment .

“With a growing pet population, the top priority of the SPCA in San Francisco is to ensure that all animals have access to veterinary care Californiasaid Brandy Kuentzel, General Counsel with the San Francisco SPCA. “By restricting telemedicine, this law restricts fair access to animal care California different people and geographic regions. “

Many states including California, Relaxation of veterinary telemedicine restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Veterinarians in Ontario, Canada have successfully used the type of telemedicine the lawsuit seeks for nearly three years.

“The California Veterinary Medical Board suggests that they don’t trust veterinarians that they are licensed to make informed decisions about animals.” said Kuentzel. “The law not only restricts the constitutional right of veterinarians and animal owners to freedom of expression, but also restricts an animal’s access to veterinary care.”

The lawsuit demands that veterinarians be allowed to practice telemedicine based on their judgment and training.

“People can use telemedicine for themselves and their children, so why not for their pets?” asked Kuentzel. “Telemedicine can be an important tool in improving the lives of pets and the people they love.”

Via the San Francisco SPCA
The San Francisco SPCA is an independent, community-sponsored, nonprofit animal welfare organization dedicated to the rescue, protection, and immediate care of cats and dogs that are homeless, sick, or in need of a lawyer. The San Francisco SPCA also works long-term to educate the community and improve the quality of life of animals and their human companions. The organization does not receive any state funding and is not affiliated with any national organization.

The SPCA in San Francisco offers volunteers the opportunity to care for shelter dogs and cats, support veterinary and animal shelter staff, enrich the lives of people in the community by caring for non-possessed animals, and providing animal-assisted therapies.

For more information on the SPCA in San Francisco, call (415) 554-3000 or visit

SOURCE San Francisco SPCA

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