Joined by police dogs and police departments from across New England, as well as bill sponsors and advocates, Governor Dan McKee today ceremonially signed legislation which allows police dogs injured in the line of duty to get emergency first aid from EMTs and be transported by ambulance to veterinary hospitals.
?The ceremonial bill signing took place at Camp Fogarty during a K-9 conference program attended by over 40 police dogs and numerous police departments from across New England.
The legislation (2022-H 7021A, 2022-S 3019) allows EMTs to transport police dogs injured on the job to a veterinary hospital and to provide first aid, as long as there are no humans waiting for treatment or transport. The bill also directs the Department of Health, in consultation with police, EMTs and veterinarians, to develop policies and procedures for training EMTs for safe handling and first aid for police dogs, identifying veterinary hospitals that can accept them and sterilizing ambulances for allergens following the transportation of a police dog.
“Police dogs are often a part of difficult – and occasionally violent – situations, and this legislation ensures that these loyal members of the police departments of Rhode Island are provided with life-saving first aid in the event of a tragedy,” said Governor Dan McKee. “I sincerely thank the bill sponsors and advocates who ensured that this critical legislation reached my desk, and it was an honor to sign it into law.”
“Police dogs are some of the most loyal, untiring public servants there are. They protect and serve the public alongside human officers, sometimes at great risk to their own lives and safety. They are also valuable resources, having undergone months or years of training to be able to perform special duties. They absolutely deserve to have all the necessary emergency treatment if they get hurt in the line of duty, and no EMT should have to decline to help them or face any kind of repercussion for helping to save their lives,” said Representative David A. Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston), bill sponsor.
“We hope we never need this bill in Rhode Island, but if we did have a tragedy involving one of our K-9 police dogs, EMTs shouldn’t be legally required to stand by helplessly as the animal suffers. This would give them the opportunity, as long as it wouldn’t be leaving any humans without the care they need, to get the dog to a veterinary hospital for treatment,” said Senator Stephen R. Archambault (D-Dist. 22, Smithfield, North Providence, Johnston), bill sponsor.
“Not all heroes walk on two feet and I am glad that our heroic police K-9s will now be able to receive the care that they deserve if they are injured in the line of duty. I thank the sponsors, my colleagues in the General Assembly and Governor McKee for supporting this worthy piece of legislation,” said Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich), bill sponsor.
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