Bill proposes limited 911 help for family pets

First responders would be allowed to offer treatment to the family pet in the course of their jobs, but don’t call for an ambulance if your dog gets hit by a car.

Under a bill that won preliminary approval in the Colorado House on Friday, emergency medical technicians would have the authority to treat pets that are injured in fires, accidents or other emergency calls if they also involve humans.

All of that, however, is contingent on the public, private or nonprofit organizations that employ the EMTs to volunteer to do so, said the two Denver Democrats who are the House sponsors of SB39, Reps. Beth McCann and Lois Court.

“This is on behalf of our four-legged friends (and) would allow the emergency responder organizations and departments to decide if they would like to be able to provide emergency care to dogs and cats when they respond to an emergency,” McCann said.

“This is another one of those bills that Sen. David Balmer (R-Centennial), who is also an animal lover, is sponsoring,” Court added. “He started it in the Senate and brought it over here. He spent a lot of time getting all the stakeholders together, the veterinarians, EMTs, firemen. It came out of the Senate 35-0. It came out of the (House) health committee 11-0.”

If the first responder organizations decide to provide this pre-veterinarian care treatment, the organizations would handle training for their employees, McCann said.

“It does not allow for ambulances to be called just to respond to an injury to an animal,” McCann said. “But if an animal is injured in a response to an emergency, then the responders can provide just basic stabilization in order to get the animal to veterinary care.”

The bill requires a final House vote, which could come as early as Monday, before it can head to the governor’s office for his signature.


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