Delivery of Veterinary Services by Not-for-Profit/Tax-Exempt Organizations

Comment on this policy

Veterinary not-for-profit and tax-exempt clinics and hospitals provide access to important medical and surgical services for animals owned by the indigent and otherwise underserved populations. Without such charitable services, these animal owners would find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to care for their animals appropriately. Improved access to care not only helps ensure that the welfare of animals is protected, but also helps address public health concerns that may be associated with preventable zoonotic diseases, such as rabies. In addition, many not-for-profit organizations, including community animal shelters and animal control agencies, provide a benefit to society through rescuing, sheltering, rehabilitating and finding good homes for animals. While supporting these worthwhile efforts, the AVMA believes that not-for-profit and tax-exempt organizations should comply with:

  • federal, state and local regulations, including the Internal Revenue Code, and rulings applicable to tax exempt organizations providing fee-for-service veterinary care
  • state laws addressing:
    • not-for-profit organizations' missions and funding
    • ownership of veterinary practices by non-veterinarians
    • veterinary facility licensure and quality standards

Where applicable, means testing to determine eligibility should be conducted in compliance with each organization's internal documents for clients accessing veterinary services.