Bill would allow first responders to aid pets at a scene

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Some lawmakers want to change state law so first responders can treat pets during an emergency. Right now it's technically illegal for anyone other than a veterinarian to treat an animal. The bill, still in committee stage, could even help police dogs.

If first responders are called to a house fire their number one priority is saving the people inside only after that can they help pets.

“After we get everyone out from an incident safely, then we'll focus on the pets if there are pets inside, so then we will render aid if they need to and the number one thing that we can do is provide oxygen through these oxygen masks.”

That's why it came as a surprise to green bay first responders that rendering aid to pets at the scene is technically illegal.

Note: The Green Bay Metro Fire Department wants to remind you to never call 911 for a pet emergency but instead call your veterinarian or 24/7 pet hospital. This also means in the future, should this bill pass.

The way the bill is written, fire departments wouldn't be forced to get equipment like oxygen masks for pets, but if they happen to use it, any liability would be taken off of them.

Some lawmakers sponsoring the bill want to protect first responders from lawsuits.

“Often times by the time you bring your pet all the way to a veterinarian, your pet may have died so it's one of these situations where if that department, that emergency department, has the ability to save a pet, they're allowed to do it,” said Republican Senator Robert Cowles of District 2 (Allouez).

The bill would also protect police dogs because they, too, face dangerous situations.

“Also, you have a situation where this terrible problem of opiates a number of these dogs are showing up at sites with the police department and they're being exposed to drugs and they have to be treated immediately there's not time to bring them to a veterinarian for treatment,” said Senator Cowles.