Under current law, if a police dog is injured or exposed to drugs, an on-duty EMT is prohibited fromstabilizing the animal before transport to an emergency clinic. If approved, this bill would extend Good Samaritan liability protection, to cover trained first responders who treat working and service animals in emergency situations.
“It was gratifying to see all the support for this bill. The law enforcement K-9 community's commitment to their canine partners came through in the testimony today,” said Fay. “We have the opportunity to provide a better chance for these specially trained dogs to survive a serious injury in the field. Officer Cole of the Portland Police Department has been a driving force in moving this legislation forward and it has been a pleasure to work with her.”
Among those testifying in favor of the bill were canine handlers, emergency medical services providers and veterinarians. There was no opposition.
“As handlers, we often respond to calls for service far away from our areas. Some emergency vet clinics are better equipped than others, and we don’t always know where the closest emergency vet clinic is,” said K-9 Officer Shane Stephenson of the South Portland Police, who testified in favor of the bill. “Passing this law will give us the extra time needed to provide the best emergency care.”
The Judiciary Committee will vote on the bill, LD 1716, “An Act to Protect Persons Who Provide Assistance to Law Enforcement Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs and Service Dogs” on Tuesday, January 23.
Fay is serving her first term in the Maine Legislature and represents part of Casco, part of Poland and part of Raymond. She serves on the Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee.