in a name? Ask Jay Kerr, the inspiration for California
SB 1305, euphemistically known as the Mouth-to-Snout
Resuscitation Pet Rescue Bill.
your attention, didnít it?
is a veterinarian with 35 years of experience in the
Tri-Valley area. Heís also a director on the San Ramon
Valley Fire Protection District board. So he is
sensitive to the plight of animals who get sick or
injured and the first responders who tend to them.
been involved in disaster response from the animal side
of it," he said. "I see both sides of
pitched the bill to state Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda,
who liked what he heard.
deals with first responders in his volunteer job,"
Glazer said. "He knows the value that first aid can
bring to a distressed animal."
enacted, the bill would allow first responders to
administer such treatments as stabilizing a pet,
maintaining an airway, controlling bleeding and
not unusual for proposed legislation to have roots in a
real life situation. Kerr said his idea came from a
lifetime of real life situations ó which include
spending more than a week in Sonoma County after the
catastrophic wildfires last fall.
worked with a disaster group there rescuing cats and
dogs who had been burned," he said. While he also
encountered "horses, cattle, goats and sheep,"
he stressed that the proposed legislation "is a
cats and dogs law."
of laws, it is illegal in California to practice
veterinary medicine without a license. Punishment could
include civil damages or criminal prosecution.
Apparently there are two basic types of first responders
ó those who are unaware of the do-not-treat law, and
those who know about it but donít care because a
responderís first instinct is to respond.
canít imagine anyone complaining about a first
responder helping their pet," Kerr said.
said he helped train a group of first responders at UC
Davis with scenarios involving animals in traffic
accidents. Ultimately it was decided that SB 1305 would
have a clause indemnifying first responders who render
aid to an injured or sick pet. It does not require first
responders to treat an animal.
has come up before," Kerr said. "Itís the
first time I know of where vets and first responders sat
down together. As a director on the fire district board
I come into contact with fire staff all the time,
including the union president. They want to help animals
and they usually do. We want to be able to offer
treatment. We donít want anyone to hesitate. We have
trained paramedics (to treat people). Now weíre just
applying it to animals.
is optimistic the bill will become law. For one thing,
it has bipartisan support (fancy political talk for
"cats and dogs living together"). Co-authors
of the bill include Assembly Democrats Sabrina Cervantes
(Riverside) and Kevin Mullin (South San Francisco), and
Assembly Republicans Catharine Baker (Dublin) and Marc
Steinorth (Rancho Cucamonga).
another thing, Glaser was co-author of the Pets in Hot
Cars bill which became law Jan. 1 of this year. That
bill, also a bipartisan effort, allows bystanders to
break a window of a vehicle in which an animal appears
to be in a life-threatening situation due to severe heat
ó as long as the bystander calls 911 first.
about that mouth-to-snout treatment, itís really a
thing and it really works. Just ask a pet near you.