Legal and Ethical Issues

In considering legal and ethical issues related to TVNR, veterinarians are well informed by two particular peer reviewed journal articles.

Professional, ethical, and legal dilemmas of trap-neuter-release.  JAVMA (2004).

The first article is from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) and is authored by Paul Barrows.   Dr. Barrows makes clear that it is unwise to overturn long standing public health policies relating to feral cats, and that the veterinary medical malpractice insurer has determined that many aspects of TVNR are illegal and cannot be insured against.

Read the paper here:  JAVMA Article on TNR 2004 Legal Issues for Vets

Feral Cat Colonies in Florida:  The Fur and Feathers are Flying.  Land Use (2003).

This article is from the Journal of Land Use and Enviromental Law and is authored by Pamela Hatley, Esq.  This article clearly illustrates the issues associated with feral cats from a legal perspective.  The article considers all laws from federal statutes to local ordinances, and is widely cited by other journal articles as the authoritative source for legal considerations.  The author has made numerous presentations for Florida Fish and Wildlife, and is one of the national experts on legal issues as they pertain to feral cats.

Read the paper here:  Journal of Land Use & Envtl Law

Legal Implications for Zoonoses for Veterinarians, JAVMA (2008).

This article discusses legal and ethical implications for veterinarians when dealing with zoonotic diseases.  The author notes the disconnect between human physicians and veterinarians, and suggests a closer line of communication is critical.  This is because 75% of all new infectious disease comes from animals, and thus “Veterinarians play a paramount role in public health and in developing cooperative partnerships designed to deal with some of the zoonotic threats we are facing. Veterinarians have the benefit of cutting-edge research and educational opportunities that provide them with the skills to excel and take leadership roles in the prevention of zoonotic diseases. By acknowledging this professional responsibility and continuing to strive for excellence in discharging their professional duties, veterinarians will prevent a breach in the standard of care and exposure to legal liability.”

Read the paper here:  Public Health Duties of Vets and Legal Implications JAVMA 2008