Providing Pet First Aid Used to be a Legal Issue
Before Senate Bill No. 1305 was passed, first responders that offered first aid to pets could face legal issues and fines for performing veterinary care without a license. Pets are considered property and because we have quite a bit of emotion wrapped up in them, when things don’t go well, even under the best intentions – people take legal action.
This was happening when first responders would help pets that were injured in fires, car accidents etc. Many are pet lovers themselves so after attending to their people patients, they would often provide aid to the injured pets on the scene. The issue is while they were protected by the good samaritan law for people, no such law existed for pets, so they were liable for legal action and for performing unlicensed veterinary medicine.
California Now Allows First Responders to Legally Render Aid to Pets
California has since passed a bill that allows first responders protection if reasonable aid was provided in order to help a pet. It limits the civil liability a first responder could face from a pet owner and the legal action the state could take for practicing veterinary medicine without a license.
Other States are Allowing Pet First Aid
Keep in mind a human’s life will always come first but it’s nice to know that in states like California, Colorado, Maryland, Ohio, and Wisconsin, laws exist that allow EMS/first responders to provide life-saving emergency treatment to cats or dogs (considered companion animals).
Many other states have also made strides in allowing first responders to render aid to dogs and cats in hot or cold cars. Please check with your state laws and if they do allow first responders to help, consider donating a pet first aid & CPR course to their company. Feel free to reach out to me through this blog to discuss how we can make that happen or for help locating one of our amazing instructors in your area.