Idaho Humane Society agrees to limit its nonprofit services

The Idaho Humane Society’s hospital will continue to take all pets needing general medical and surgical care, but no longer will provide routine care or nonemergency orthopedic surgery for pets belonging to middle-income or wealthy owners, Director Jeff Rosenthal said.

Routine care includes annual exams, vaccinations and teeth cleaning.

The nonprofit is restricting its services at the behest of the Idaho Veterinary Medical Association, which lobbied for a state law to restrict Humane Society services to low-income pet owners only. Rosenthal said the parties plan to ink the deal Friday morning.

Only pet owners with household incomes at or below 75 percent of median income for Ada County — about $41,500 — will qualify to get routine care and nonemergency orthopedic surgeries.

To promote continued cooperation, the two sides will meet four times in the next year and then biannually thereafter. IHS will encourage people adopting pets to seek out veterinarians for pet care.

“These types of conflicts between veterinarians and humane societies are not good for anyone,” Rosenthal said. “It was incumbent upon the IHS to resolve the issue so we didn’t end up with a piece of legislation that would set the whole state back 30 or 40 years.”

They plan to fully implement the agreement in May, while still honoring some already scheduled appointments.

The veterinarians association represents more than 500 professionals in Idaho. Some private veterinarians in the Treasure Valley worried about losing customers to the Idaho Humane Society’s hospital, which will be much bigger at its new planned campus on West Overland Road near Wal-Mart. The society is raising money for the $11 million project set to open as soon as spring 2017.

Under the agreement, the society can continue to serve owners of all income levels who are seeking euthanasia for a pet or spay/neuter service, Rosenthal said.

Exempted from income restriction for IHS care are IHS volunteers, employees, military clients and government-owned animals.