Bill would allow first responders to help animals

Politics - Government

There have been countless times first responders have gone out of their way to help animals at crime scenes and even crashes. Although their intentions are good, technically they might be illegal. 

It’s a crime to provide veterinary services to animals without a license. A few House Democrats want to change it. 

“We’ve all seen the pictures of first responders with puppies or kittens with burnt paws or have smoke inhalation and while it’s cute, we have to remember that it’s a misdemeanor to provide first aid,” said Rep. Karen Bash (D) of Albuquerque.

House Bill 598, it would amend the Veterinary Practice Act. The bill would allow police, firefighters and EMS as people who could give oxygen, CPR and basic first aid to cats, dogs and livestock at an emergency scene. 

Committee Republicans questioned the need for the bill, asking who would prosecute someone for trying to help an animal under these circumstances.

“I think if you see something that needs to be taken care of, you have the ability to take care of it and you’re protected for your actions in undertaking that action, particularly first responders,” said Rep. Greg Nibert (R) of Roswell.

KRQE was told that the Rio Grande Kennel Club would provide the training to first responders across the state.

Although there was some debate over the bill, it easily passed in the committee. It will now move onto the House Judiciary. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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