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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) – There was a decision Wednesday in Montgomery that will have a big impact Alabama’s homeless pet population.

The Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners unanimously voted down Rule No. 930-X-1-.39. The rule would have made it illegal for licensed veterinarians to work for non-veterinarian owned organizations and could have resulted in the closure of the state’s non-profit spay-neuter clinics.

Mindy Gilbert, Alabama state director for The Humane Society of the United States, says 20 people spoke in opposition at Wednesday’s hearing and no one spoke in favor of the rule.

State Sen. Bill Holtzclaw (R-Madison) was one of five lawmakers who wrote an eleventh-hour letter to the state board of veterinary medical examiners. The legislators asked board members to hold off on a proposed rule change for the clinics, with the promise that lawmakers would address concerns over how the clinics operate when they return to Montgomery next spring.

“This is a better outcome,” said Holtzclaw, who praised the ruling. “I’m glad the board took the time to look at this and decided it was best not to take action…Allowing the right thing to be done with respect to the lives of those pets, as opposed to situations where we have an out of control pet population.”

Some veterinary groups have accused the clinics of performing additional services besides just spaying and neutering, allegations that would constitute a violation of the law. Private veterinarians say it also gives the clinics an unfair price advantage, hurting their own private practices.