Ohio Bill Allows Medics, First Responders to Treat Injured Pets

COLUMBUS – Legislation allowing paramedics and other responders to assist injured dogs and cats at accident or other emergency scenes is headed to Gov. John Kasich’s desk, following final approval by the Ohio Senate Wednesday.

Senators OK’d HB 187 on a unanimous vote, leaving intact the version of the bill unanimously passed by the Ohio House in December. The law changes will take effect 90 days after the governor adds his signature.

The legislation will authorize first responders, emergency medical technicians and firefighters to assist with hurt dogs and cats, though it prohibits those responders from administering drugs to injured animals without first consulting a licensed veterinarian.

Treatments covered by the bill include “opening and manually maintaining an airway,” “giving mouth-to-snout or mouth-to-barrier ventilation,” controlling bleeding, immobilizing broken bones and bandaging wounds, according to an analysis by the state’s Legislative Service Commission.

The bill will not allow residents to call 9-1-1 seeking emergency treatment for hurt pets; paramedics could provide assistance if already on the scene of fires or other emergencies.

Sen. Cliff Hite (R-Findlay), who serves as chairman of the Senate committee that considered the bill, said the legislation would address an area not currently covered in state law.

“We’ve had some canine officers succumb to drug overdoses in the process of busting up drug houses and things,” he said. “And there was no protocol that was written before. And that’s why this was brought to our attention.”

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

 

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