January 23, 2018

Contact: Senator Robert Cowles: (608) 266-0484

Senate Passes Bill to Save Our Pets in Emergency Situations

MADISON– Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) released the following statement after 2017 Senate Bill 435, authored by Senator Cowles and Representatives Considine (D-Baraboo) and Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) and named the Save Our Pets bill, was passed on a voice vote during today’s Senate floor session: 

“The physical trauma that someone avoids during a car accident, house fire or other emergency situation may be offset by the emotional trauma they suffer from injuries or even death to a beloved pet. While some first responders are already treating pets at emergency scenes, they put themselves at professional risk while providing care as their actions are illegal under state law. This bill will provide first responders with the legal authority they need to continue rendering aid to families throughout Wisconsin, regardless of whether the family member walks on two legs or four. I’m glad to see this bill progress through the Senate, and I hope to see it pass the Assembly before the session concludes.”

Under the state’s current Veterinarian Practice Act, only licensed veterinarians are authorized to provide first aid to animals. As a result, first responders must wait for an on-call veterinarian to treat injured pets at emergency scenes, and the vet’s response time may be too great to save the life of an injured pet. Senate Bill 435 provides the legal authority for first responders to provide emergency care to dogs, cats and other household pets. Under this bill, care could not be provided to pets until all humans are in stable condition at the scene or have been transported from the scene. SB 435 also provides immunity to first responders that either act in good faith while providing care to pets or decline to render aid to the animal.