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Laugh about the mouth-to-snout bill, but it could save your dog or cat

Gary Peterson, The Mercury News on

Published in Cats & Dogs News

What's in a name? Ask Jay Kerr, the inspiration for California SB 1305, euphemistically known as the Mouth-to-Snout Resuscitation Pet Rescue Bill.

Got your attention, didn't it?

Kerr is a veterinarian with 35 years of experience in the Tri-Valley area. He's 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.

"I've been involved in disaster response from the animal side of it," he said. "I see both sides of this."

Kerr pitched the bill to state Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, who liked what he heard.

"He deals with first responders in his volunteer job," Glazer said. "He knows the value that first aid can bring to a distressed animal."

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If enacted, the bill would allow first responders to administer such treatments as stabilizing a pet, maintaining an airway, controlling bleeding and immobilizing fractures.

It's 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 -- which include spending more than a week in Sonoma County after the catastrophic wildfires last fall.

"I 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."

Speaking 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 -- those who are unaware of the do-not-treat law, and those who know about it but don't care because a responder's first instinct is to respond.


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