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New law supports first responders who treat injured pets
Until a new law was passed this spring, it was against the law in Ohio — along with many other states — for firefighters or paramedics to provide basic first aid to dogs and cats rescued from house fires, car accidents or other crisis situations. Only licensed veterinarians could do that.
The legislation passed recently makes Ohio one of the first states to protect first responders who administer lifesaving aid to pets, companion animals or police dogs in crisis. Animal advocates say they hope the statute, which they liken to laws protecting good Samaritans who come to the aid of injured humans, removes hesitation for first responders who might have concerns about tending to injured pets.
The law will allow first responders to, without fear of liability, provide oxygen, perform mouth-to-snout resuscitation, try to stem bleeding, bandage and even administer the overdose antidote naloxone to dogs or cats that have ingested opiates. Liability has been a concern because owners of pets have sued first responders who treated animals that ended up dying.
"It's another layer of protection for the good guys," said Cory Smith, director of public policy for companion animals at The Humane Society of the United States.
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