Ohio has become one of the first states to enact new legislation allowing first responders and other paramedics to provide first aid for pets rescued from house fires and auto accidents as well as other crisis situations without fear of liability. The legislation not only covers “companion” animals”, but police dogs and horses as well. Up until now it was against the law there for any one other than licensed vets to perform such services, including mouth the snout resuscitation try and stop bleeding, bandaging wounds, and even administer naloxone to animals that might have ingested opiates.
The bill was inspired by Bob Swichard, director of an EMS service in northeastern Ohio, who contacted State Rep. Tim Ginter with concerns over an increase in injuries to on-duty police dogs. A similar law was passed in Colorado.
It is now hoped that the new law will encourage more good Samaritans as well as first responders to take care of animal victims while others tend to humans who have been injured. It should be noted, however, that the law does not require emergency services personnel to treat animals, nor does it make it okay for people to call 911 when their pet is sick or injured. Instead they would still have to contact emergency animal hospitals in their areas.