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Washington Humane Society Wants Lights And Sirens For Its Vehicles

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The D.C. Council is considering a bill that would allow the Washington Humane Society to use emergency lights and sirens on their vehicles.

At a hearing today, the Washington Humane Society's director of animal control field services, Raymond Noll, told lawmakers D.C. traffic often results in "less than ideal" response times, which can endanger residents.

"We have dealt with rabid raccoons in highly public areas, deer that have been struck by vehicles, causing a traffic hazard and potential for additional motor vehicle accidents," Noll said. "We often respond to situations where dogs have bitten children and are running off with the potential to bite somebody else."

Dr. Rikin Mehta, senior deputy director of the D.C. Department of Health, also testified. He says his department agrees with the spirit of the bill, but has some general concerns. "First, the bill must take into consideration the increased risk to drivers and pedestrians at intersections and crosswalks where emergency vehicles may be operating lights and sirens, the operation of which are otherwise strictly controlled," Mehta said.

The bill would require drivers to undergo the same training as other emergency responders in the District.

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