Nero’s Law would allow EMS transport of injured police dogs

Boston Statehouse

Barnstable police officer Kevin Fullam brought his K9, Yvonne, to a State House briefing on Rep. Will Crocker’s bill that would allow emergency personnel to treat police dogs. (Photo: Kaitlyn Budion/SHNS)

BOSTON (SHNS) – Three years after the fatal shooting of Yarmouth Sgt. Sean Gannon, the late police officer’s former deputy chief is pushing legislation dubbed “Nero’s Law” that would allow an ambulance to transport an injured police dog to an animal hospital.

Rep. Steven Xiarhos was deputy police chief in Yarmouth at the time of Gannon’s shooting, and went on to get elected to the House last November. To mark the anniversary of Gannon’s death on Monday, Xiarhos called for passage of his bill. Nero was Gannon’s K9 policing partner and was also shot on the scene as Gannon attempted to serve a search warrant. Nero survived his injuries, but Xiarhos said that because of existing state laws emergency personnel were not able to provide care or transport Nero to an emergency veterinary clinic as they would have a human first responder.

“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. “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.”

Xiarhos’s bill, which is awaiting a committee assignment, would allow EMS to transport and treat K9s injured in the line of duty. The legislation was developed in partnership with Nero’s veterinarian Dr. Kevin Smith of VCA Hyannis Animal Hospital. Similar bills have been introduced in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Florida. 

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