Nero’s Law, providing emergency help to K9 officers, advances

Oct 12, 2021

Legislation that allows injured K9 officers to receive emergency treatment and transportation will advance to the Senate after being approved Tuesday by the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.

Senate bill 1606, also known as Nero’s Law, was filed by Senator Mark Montigny, D-New Bedford, who also represents Dartmouth.

The bill was filed in response to the severe injuries suffered by Nero, the K9 partner of Sgt. Sean Gannon, a New Bedford native and Yarmouth police officer who was shot and killed April 12, 2018. 

Nero was also shot and severely injured, requiring significant medical attention.

Despite the multiple empty ambulances on site that day, Nero had to be rushed to the animal hospital in the back of a police cruiser.  

Nero survived his injuries, “but the inability to transport him shows callousness in current laws towards working dogs who risk their lives every day to serve the commonwealth,’’ Montigny said in a release.

The legislation allows emergency personnel to provide basic first aid, CPR, and administer life-saving interventions such as naloxone to injured K-9s. 

“These K9s are incredible animals who fearlessly serve alongside the men and women in law enforcement during incredibly dangerous situations,’’ Montigny said.  “Permitting them to be transported with basic, immediate care is just one way we can honor their contributions across the Commonwealth. Sgt. Gannon was a native son of New Bedford and therefore his K9 partner Nero is part of our community’s extended family.  We hope that this never has to be used, but it demonstrates the respect for the crucial work these animals do.’’

The bill now advances to the Senate for further consideration. 

First-term Representative Steven Xiarhos, R-West Barnstable, the former deputy chief of the Yarmouth Police Department, also filed Montigny’s language this session in the House.  

Both branches will now have an opportunity to proceed with the legislation.