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A new California bill seeks to legalize mouth-to-snout resuscitation for any endangered pet dog or cat, a practice that is currently a misdemeanor for anyone except a licensed veterinarian.
Senate Bill 1305 was introduced by state Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, on Friday. Co-authored by a bipartisan group of Assembly members, the concept for SB 1305 was suggested to Glazer by San Ramon Valley veterinarian Jay Kerr, who wrote that “most first responders WANT to provide Emergency Medical Services to the dogs and cats they encounter in emergencies.”
Liability issues and the possibility of prosecution are among reasons for the illegality of these life-saving efforts.
The current fine for unlawful mouth-to-snout emergency care in California can be anywhere from $500 to $2,000, up to one year in county jail or a combination of fines and jail time.
“Any first responder who puts mouth to snout to save a poor pooch’s or kitty’s life deserves only high praise and encouragement,” Glazer said in a statement. “We should reward, not punish, those who protect our pets.”
Despite it being illegal, there are plenty of documented cases of first responders ignoring the law to save pets’ lives. A firefighter revived a 10-year-old Bichon Frise-Shih Tzu mix in Santa Monica last spring after 20 minutes of mouth-to-snout resuscitation efforts.
At least 22 states have passed similar laws allowing emergency assistance to pets, with Ohio and Maryland being the latest.
SB 1305 would not require first responders to offer medical assistance to animals – it’s still their choice.