Thanks to the tireless work of the CVMA, the Department of Consumer Affairs has decided that the California Veterinary Practice Act is the ultimate authority in the practice of veterinary medicine in California. City and county ordinances, like the ban on cat declawing in West Hollywood, cannot supersede the Practice Act.
In July 2004, the CVMA filed an official request with the Veterinary Medical Board, asking it to research the validity of local ordinances that place restrictions on veterinary medical procedures, like that enacted in West Hollywood. We noted that local restrictions on veterinary medical procedures appeared to be in violation of the Veterinary Practice Act, that they could seriously impede the ability of veterinarians to operate in a fair business climate, and that it is confusing to the animal-owning public and veterinarians when local boundaries determine the legality of veterinary procedures.
The legal department of the Department of Consumer Affairs explored this question and has upheld Business and Professions Code 460 of the Veterinary Practice Act. It concluded, “A local ordinance that imposes a ban on the ‘declawing’ of domestic cats is preempted by the State’s licensing law regulating the practice of veterinary medicine.” In other words, the Veterinary Practice Act takes precedence over local ordinances.
The CVMA will continue to inform all California communities that the Veterinary Practice Act is the highest authority in regulating the practice of veterinary medicine.