"Nero's Law" Police Dog Bill Inches Closer To Passing In State House

A photo of K9 Nero as he recovered from his wounds in April 2018.Photo: Courtesy Yarmouth Police Department

BOSTON (State House News Service) — The House appears poised to act on an amended version of Senate-approved legislation authorizing medical personnel to transport and provide emergency treatment to K9 law enforcement partners.

The Sen. Mark Montigny bill (S 2573) cleared that branch in November, and is sponsored in the House by Rep. Steven Xiarhos. A vote on the bill in the House Ways and Means Committee was occurring prior to Thursday's House session, where the bill may emerge.

"Nero's Law" references the K9 partner who was severely injured during an April 2018 incident in which New Bedford native and Yarmouth Police Sergeant Sean Gannon was killed. Nero was also shot on the scene as Gannon attempted to serve a search warrant. There were empty ambulances on site, but Nero, who survived his injuries, had to be rushed to the animal hospital in a police cruiser. Xiarhos was deputy police chief in Yarmouth at the time of Gannon's shooting, and was subsequently elected to the House.

"I will never forget the sight of K9 Nero covered in blood and fighting for his life after being rescued by the brave police officers on that horrible day," Xiarhos said last April. "K9 Nero never gave up trying to protect his fallen hero. Now it is time for us to fight for him and all the devoted police dogs across our Commonwealth who serve and protect their handlers and all of us, now and for generations to come."

The emergency treatment authorized under the bill would include basic first aid, CPR, and administration of life-saving interventions such as naloxone. And the bill bans EMS personnel from transporting an injured police dog "if providing such transport would inhibit their ability to provide emergency medical attention or transport to a person requiring such services."

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