Home Paramedicine/The Job I’m Not Sure This Is A Good Idea

I’m Not Sure This Is A Good Idea

I’m Not Sure This Is A Good Idea

Before all the dog lovers send hate emails, let me just say that I love pets. I don’t currently own a dog, but have owned several in the past.

That’s not the issue with this,

Bill that would allow emergency treatment for police dogs filed after 7NEWS investigation

I’ll leave aside the self congratulatory headline, after all that’s what second rate media does.

BOSTON (WHDH) – Action on Beacon Hill after a 7News exclusive investigation: It’s shocking but true: All the brave law enforcement officers in Massachusetts do not get equal opportunity for medical treatment when they’re injured in the line of duty. Hank Phillippi Ryan Investigates.

I know that this might be shocking, but dogs aren’t people. I know a lot of people who treat their dogs as people, but they aren’t people.

After our investigation, Representative Crocker filed Nero’s Bill. “It’s absolutely time for this to change in Massachusetts,” Crocker said.

The bill would allow injured working police K-9s to be treated and transported by EMT’s. It even requires emergency responders to get special canine training.

Here are some of the problems I see with this proposed law.

Who pays for the “special canine training” that EMS will be required to get?

Certainly not the TV station, nor the police, nor the state. Which will mean that ambulalnce services will have to pay to train their staff in skills that most won’t ever need.

Who pays for the equipment? Dogs aren’t people, so some specialized equipment will be need to go with the “special canine training.” Among that equipment will likely be some sort of restraint system so that the injured dog isn’t tossed around in the back of the ambulance.

What happens to an ambulance that transports a canine? On a guess, it will have to be cleaned thoroughly if not decontaminated. Yes, we clean ambulances after ever call, but I c can’t help but wonder if the state will require a different level of  cleaning for this.

Who pays for the medical care and transport? For that matter, where is EMS supposed to transport only to human medical facilities. 9-1-1 responses are required to go to Emergency Departments.

That includes where do the ambulances go during off hours? Is the system supposed to transport a significant distance outside it’s normal response area to go to a 24 hour animal emergency department?

What about liability? Both for bad outcomes for the dog and the likely traffic crashes that ambulances will be involved in.

There is some interesting language in the bill, which can be found here.

I also wonder about “mission creep.” Will this lead to treating of police horses? Seriously, some larger departments have mounted units and those horses do get injured. In fact, if my aging memory serves me colleagues of mine were called upon to treat an injured horse some years back.

Finally, somehow I think this will lead to calls to treat non police canines. After all, if a police canine needs an ambulance and emergency treatment, what about Fido after he is hit by a car?

I know some people read this will think I’m kidding about the last two, but these things have a way of getting out of hand.



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After a long career as a field EMS provider, I'm now doing all that back office stuff I used to laugh at. Life is full of ironies, isn't it? I still live in the Northeast corner of the United States, although I hope to change that to another part of the country more in tune with my values and beliefs. I still write about EMS, but I'm adding more and more non EMS subject matter. Thanks for visiting.


  1. Hmm…

    There ARE animal ambulances running around the state, operated my MSPCA and other organizations. Maybe THOSE would be a better solution?


    • I agree. Of course those who get in on the ground floor of developing a curriculum have a good chance of making some money. 😉 Great country, America!

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