Nero’s Law, which hopes to protect K9 officers, unanimously passes in State Senate

Nov 12, 2021

Dartmouth’s four-legged K9 officers are one step closer to getting immediate emergency care and transportation if they are injured in the line of duty.

The Massachusetts State Senate Wednesday unanimously voted to approve “Nero’s Law” — which creates new protections for law enforcement canines across the state.

The legislation was filed by Senator Mark Montigny, D-New Bedford, who also represents Dartmouth.

“K9 officers protect the men and women in law enforcement as well as the community at-large,” Montigny said in a statement. “Allowing our emergency personnel to provide basic treatment and transport is a commonsense measure that honors their contributions across the Commonwealth.”

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.

First responders could not treat the K9 officer at the scene and he had to be driven to a vet 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.

“These animals endure extreme danger from gun violence, narcotics, and even explosive materials,” he said. “Words cannot describe the gratitude we have for the Gannon family for their tenacious and compassionate advocacy to get this bill done.”

The bill now awaits approval from the Massachusetts House of Representatives. 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.