New Animal Laws Passed In 2002
Sec. 24. 26 V.S.A. § 2405 is added to read:
§ 2405. IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY FOR GOOD SAMARITAN ACTS
- For purposes of this section, an "emergency" shall include a fire, flood, storm or other natural disaster, hazardous chemical or substance incident, vehicular collision with an animal, or other transportation accident where an animal is injured or in need of assistance to protect its health or life.
- A veterinarian licensed by the board or any other person who, in good faith, provides care and treatment to an animal during an emergency shall not be held liable for civil damages by the owner of the animal, unless his or her acts constitute gross negligence or unless he or she will receive or expects to receive remuneration.
- Nothing contained in this section shall alter existing law with respect to tort liability of a practitioner of veterinary medicine for acts committed in the ordinary course of his or her practice.
VACTF Notes: This "Good Samaritan Law" is intended to protect both veterinarians and laymen from civil liability when they lend assistance to pets during emergencies or disasters
Sec. 1. 24 V.S.A. § 2291(21) is added to read:
§ 2291. ENUMERATION OF POWERS
For the purpose of promoting the public health, safety, welfare and convenience, a town, city or incorporated village shall have the following powers:
(21) To regulate, by means of a civil ordinance adopted pursuant to chapter 59 of this title, subject to the limitations of 13 V.S.A. § 351b and 354(a) and consistent with the rules adopted by the commissioner of agriculture, food and markets, pursuant to 13 V.S.A. § 352b(a), the welfare of animals in the municipality. Such ordinance may be enforced by humane officers as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 351, if authorized to do so by the municipality.
VACTF Notes: This law gives municipalities the authority to create a civil ordinance (and ultimately impose civil penalties) for addressing animal welfare concerns. See page 197 of this chapter for a sample "Animal Cruelty Ordinance" created by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.