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NY law protects DVMs in reporting animal abuse

Article

According to the AVMLA Newsletter, a New York law offers immunity from liability to veterinarians who disclose companion animal records with the owner's consent to law enforcement and animal control agencies.

According to the AVMLA Newsletter, a New York law offers immunity from liability to veterinarians who disclose companion animal records with the owner's consent to law enforcement and animal control agencies.

The law is designed to protect veterinarians in cases where they suspect that an animal's condition is a result of neglect or abuse, or they believe that reporting the animal's condition is necessary to protect the welfare or health of the animal.

The law makes it clear that as long as a veterinarian acts in good faith when reporting the suspected abuse or neglect of an animal, he or she will be immune from liability from such actions.

Under the law, good faith means that the veterinarian believes that disclosure of the information is necessary to protect the animal involved. The veterinarian may alert police officers, the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, an animal control officer, the Department of Agriculture, district attorney's office or any other appropriate government agency if he or she believes that a violation of any state or federal law pertaining to the care, treatment, abuse or neglect of a companion animal has occurred.

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