By PAT RAIA, [email protected]
A bill that authorizes emergency care for animal members of K-9 law enforcement units that are injured in the line of duty has been signed into law.
Signed on June 18 by Gov. Ron DeSantis, SB 388 authorizes emergency vehicles including ambulances to transport police canines that are injured in the line of duty to a veterinary clinic so long as there are no humans in need of emergency transport at the time.
The measure also authorizes emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics to administer emergency medical care to canines at the scene and during transport.
The legislation drew praise from several law enforcement agencies around the state including the Florida Attorney General's Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis said that the measure protects those who sometimes are the first to put their lives on the line in service of their communities.
“Canines are fearless and noble partners, willing to sacrifice his or her own life for that of his handler and/or other law enforcement officers,” Nienhuis said. “If a canine becomes injured in the line of duty, it brings a sense of relief to know that medical treatment can now be provided immediately or within minutes.”
SB388 goes into effect on July 1.