Bill To Address Arizona’s Veterinary Shortage Signed Into Law
Congratulations, Arizona! A bill sponsored by Senator T.J. Shope and put forward by the Arizona Humane Society (AHS) and Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA), to help address a severe shortage of veterinarians in our state, SB1271, has been signed into law as part of next year’s state budget!
For years, animal lives have been at risk because Arizona doesn’t have enough veterinarians to provide lifesaving services at public shelters and private clinics — in both urban and rural areas. This has negatively affected pet owners, ranchers, private veterinary practices, and animal shelters and rescues across the state, but now help is on the way.
This legislative action creates a new Arizona Veterinary Loan Assistance Program which will provide student loan reimbursement to new veterinarians — who obtain a veterinary degree after Jan. 1, 2023 — of up to $100,000 for veterinarians who work in Arizona for at least four years. As part of that four-year agreement, vets will be required to work at least two years at a municipal, county, or nonprofit shelter like AHS or in an agricultural practice designated by the USDA as having a shortage.
“The passing of SB1271 in the budget is a significant win for animals in Arizona as it is a step towards attracting and retaining talent that will provide vital animal health services making Arizona a better place for animals and people,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, Arizona Humane Society President and CEO.
Steve Farley, CEO of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, said, “Shelters, pet families, and ranchers everywhere are grateful to sponsor Sen. T.J. Shope, Appropriations Chairs Sen. David Gowan and Rep. Regina Cobb, Senate President Karen Fann, House Speaker Rusty Bowers, Minority Leaders Sen. Rebecca Rios and Rep. Reginald Bolding, and Governor Doug Ducey for their hard work pushing forward this vital tool to address the dire veterinary shortage here in Arizona.”
“Thanks to this budget appropriation, at least 58 new veterinarians will come to work in Arizona by the end of 2023, and each one of them will spend at least two years working at a public shelter or in an agricultural practice in a rural area over the next four years. Moving forward, making this appropriation annual will save countless lives while growing our economy, a win-win solution to an intractable problem. This is a victory for animal lovers across the state, and is a great example of the benefits that accrue to our residents when our leaders work together for the common good.”
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3TV: Veterinary Help is on the Way
For years now, we have heard the stories of pet owners in dire need of medical care for their pets as veterinary practices across our state did their best to keep up with the demand. The gravity of the veterinary shortage weighed heavy on our hearts and we knew we wanted to do whatever we could to ensure Arizona’s pets get the vital healthcare they need and to support Veterinarians in our state.
We are thrilled to announce that Arizona has established the Arizona Veterinary Loan Assistance Program to address the veterinary shortage in our state. The program, which is part of the state budget, will provide student loan reimbursement to new veterinarians of up to $100,000 for veterinarians who work in Arizona for at least four years.
We are grateful to our partners at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, and to bill sponsor T.J. Shope, for their efforts and help in pushing forward this vital tool to make Arizona a better place for animals and people.