Emergency care for pets now legal, but not required

DENVER - Firefighters in Colorado are free to provide emergency care to pets under a bill signed into law Thursday.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill to authorize emergency responders to give basic medical care to pets. Firefighters and EMTs routinely give basic care to pets.

However, veterinarians are technically the only people besides owners who are legally permitted to provide medical care to an animal. Some firefighters fear they could be sued by a bereaved pet owner.

The new law gives emergency responders no obligation to treat pets. The bill doesn't apply to fire districts that don't want to participate. The law also doesn't apply to large animals or pets other than cats or dogs.

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