Senate Bill 14-039

June 27, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Senator David Balmer has earned the nickname of “Colorado’s dog legislator.” Less than a year ago, Senator Balmer’s bill “The Dog Protection Act,” was signed into law. The Senator has now turned his attention to a bill that will authorize first-responders to administer emergency care to dogs and cats. Earlier this year, a Senate committee gave unanimous approval to Senate bill 14-039. The bill resulted from five months of negotiations between the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and the Colorado Fire Chiefs Association and the Emergency Medical Services Association of Colorado (EMSAC). Several animal welfare organizations also supported this bill.

Although many fire and rescue departments already encourage administering life-saving care to pets, these services have technically been a violation of the Veterinary Medicine Practice Act. Prior to SB 14-039 being passed, providing emergency care to animals has been unlawful. The Veterinary Medical Association supported the passing of this bill and is willing to make an exception for treatment to be administered in emergency situations. First responders can now legally administer life-saving care to pet’s in need. This bill allows EMT’s the option to provide emergency care to animals, but it does not require that they do. Each department or district will develop their own procedures.

The legislation of this bill makes it clear that human victims are still top priority for first-responders. It is still the expectation of pet owners to contact emergency veterinary providers to care for their pets.  This bill does not cost the taxpayers any additional funds.   These fire districts already are providing such emergency care to cats & dogs, so they already are spending these funds.  Senate bill 14-039 also provides liability protection to fire districts.

It is our hope that the passing of SB 14-039 results in the lives of many animals being saved!

This photo of Emma Zen was taken by Dogma Pet Portraits.