Advocacy & Government Booklets

OVMA Position Statements August 2017

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OVMA 420 Bronte Street South, Suite 205, Milton, Ontario L9T 0H9 T. 905.875.0756 or 1.800.670.1702 (toll-free) F. 905.875.0958 or 1.877.482.5941 (toll-free) OVMA Position Statement – Animal Abuse OVMA recognizes that veterinarians are in a position to observe occasions of suspected animal abuse. OVMA believes that in situations that cannot be resolved through education, it is the veterinarian's responsibility to report such observations to the appropriate authorities. The Association will seek appropriate legal protection for veterinarians when such reporting is done in good faith. Background: Animal abuse is the intent to cause harm and includes, but is not limited to, torture or malicious killing of animals. Veterinarians are often the first professionals to see an abused animal. It is part of the responsibility of the veterinarian to protect the patient from further abuse. Client education may be sufficient. Repeat or serious instances should be reported to the appropriate authorities. Studies have documented a link between the abuse of animals and the abuse of people, especially family members. Veterinarians may be able to play an important role in breaking the cycle of family violence by reporting animal abuse. Veterinary schools are encouraged to discuss animal abuse, and the reporting thereof, in their curricula, so that graduating veterinarians are better able to recognize the signs of abuse and know the appropriate steps to take in documenting and reporting it. Several provincial licensing bodies have amended their regulations to allow the reporting of animal abuse. References: 1. Olson P. Recognizing and Reporting Animal Abuse: A Veterinarian's Guide. Englewood, Colorado: American Humane Association, 1998. 2. Rowan AN. Cruelty and Abuse to Animals: A Typology. In: Ascione, Arkow, eds. Animal and Human Abuse. Purdue University, 1999. (February 5, 2014 Board)

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