When you think of firefighters saving lives, you don't think of it as a crime. And rightly so.
But in Maryland, there's a standing law that prohibits firefighters from giving medial aid to pets rescued from burning buildings.
Legally, only a licensed vet can give medical attention to injured animals, and that includes something as basic as giving oxygen. The offending party could face jail time, as the Good Samaritan Law does NOT give civil immunity to first responders who rescue animals.
"It would be nice for my folks to not have to worry about unintended consequences of our actions during the battle of the fire," said Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company Capt. Scott Goldstein.
Just a few weeks ago, Goldstein's fire crew came across this exact situation when they rescued a cat from a burning house. They gave the cat oxygen using the specialized equipment for animals.
"Now we have a mask that's designed to fit up to the animal's face," said Goldstein.
"If the cat didn't have that oxygen, the cat wouldn't be alive today," said Lisa Radov, with Maryland Votes for Animals. "And believe me, people feel about their animals as if they are members of their family."
There are 22 states that make exceptions like this that would help save animal lives. Animals rights groups and other community groups are advocating for this bill to pass in Maryland.
"Our first responders put their lives on the line for people and animals," says Radov. "This bill would allow first responders, law enforcement, and persons with a medical license to legally perform basic first aid and have civil immunity when giving basic first aid treatment to an animal in an emergency."
Do you agree that first responders should have legal immunity when it comes to saving the life of an animal? Let us know!