A change in Ohio law that will allow firefighters and other first responders to legally save an injured animal is being hailed as a step forward in animal welfare.
Did you know that in many states, Ohio included, it’s illegal for a first responder to administer emergency first aid because the law indicates only a licensed veterinarian can “treat” an animal needing medical care? Of course, nearly all first responders will do their best to save a pet rescued from a fire or injured in a car accident.
Ohio Veterinary Medical Association executive director Jack Advent recently told The Dayton Daily News:
“The bill simply allows animals to receive critical care at the earliest possible moment, which is in the best interest of the animal.”
The new law, which takes effect August 31, 2016, allows a first responder to do the following:
- Opening and manually maintaining an airway
- Giving mouth to snout or mouth to barrier ventilation
- Administering oxygen
- Managing ventilation by mask
- Controlling hemorrhage with direct pressure
- Immobilizing fractures
- Administering naloxone hydrochloride (Narcan), if authorized by the medical director or cooperating physician advisory board of an emergency medical service organization and in consultation with a veterinarian
Those who pushed the bill forward include the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, Ohio Voters for Companion Animals, Inc. and the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association.
The new law doesn’t allow people to call 9-1-1 for a pet in distress, and the accident must involve a human. First responders will also be protected from being sued by unhappy pet owners whose pet didn’t survive, despite good faith treatment from the first responder.
Helping a pet who has been injured in a house fire or car accident shouldn’t be illegal. Most people consider their pet a member of the family. It’s sad that those who risk their lives to protect and serve could get into legal trouble for doing their best to save a four-legged victim.