BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s currently a crime for firefighters to give medical aid to pets rescued from burning buildings.
If a new bill in Annapolis passes, it would give immunity to firefighters who make split second decisions for their primary duty: to save lives.
A standing Maryland law prohibits first responders from rendering emergency care to animals, only a licensed vet could do that.
If firefighters gave medical care to a pet, they’d be breaking the law. Various groups want the rule to change so firefighters will have immunity.
“It would be nice for my folks to not have to worry about unintended consequences of our actions during the battle of the fire,” said Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company Capt. Scott Goldstein.
Goldstein says they had this exact encounter just a few weeks ago when they rescued a cat from a burning home. The company even has equipment specifically for animals, as this happens multiple times a year.
“Now we have a mask that’s designed to fit up to the animal’s face,” said Goldstein.
Advocates say this is proof the law needs to be updated.
“If the cat didn’t have that oxygen, the cat wouldn’t be alive today,” said Lisa Radov, with Maryland Votes for Animals. “And believe me, people feel about their animals as if they are members of their family.”
States like Colorado and Ohio have passed similar laws that gives first responders freedom to attempt to save an animal’s life.
If this bill passes, it would go into effect in October.