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Dog’s Death Could Spark New Law Addressing Veterinary Technicians

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DENVER (CBS4) — The death of a dog is sparking change at the Capitol. The would-be change comes after a CBS4 investigation.

A bill has passed the Colorado House and is now before the Senate. Anyone can still help during an operation with a veterinarian, but certified vet technicians and specialists must undergo special training, and this helps identify them.

“Buster” the dog’s legacy may be legislation. Dennis Clark’s family called a mobile vet service to come to their Fort Collins home to neuter the dog. Dr. Sarah Rasmussen’s 16-year-old daughter was introduced as her assistant and administered the anesthesia, but it didn’t end well.

“And that’s when I went up and had the awful chore of telling the girls he had died,” Clark said.

Now a bill has passed the House which would consider it a deceptive trade practice if one calls themselves a certified veterinary technician or specialist when they are not.

Democratic Sen. John Kefalas introduced the bill.

“Well, the bill is necessary because it takes us in the right direction towards addressing the concerns that were raised by the tragic incident that occurred in Fort Collins with Buster the Yorkshire terrier,” Kefalas said.

The bill stops short of requiring licensing for veterinary technicians as some states have.

Dr. Apryl Steele speaks for the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association and says the pet’s health is ultimately in the hands of the vet.

“If it were required that every veterinarian only use certified veterinary technicians, that would probably negatively impact patient care in these rural areas because there are no certified veterinary technicians, and they wouldn’t be allowed to use anyone else,” Steele said.

Such a bill would may not have saved Buster’s life, but his family has gotten action.

CBS4 attempted to reach Rasmussen for comment on Friday, but have not yet heard back. The vet board will now decide what punishment is appropriate for the veterinarian.

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