BOSTON (CBS) — A bill that allows first responders to provide emergency medical care to injured police K-9s is headed to Gov. Charlie Baker’s office.
The Massachusetts House passed “Nero’s Law” on Monday, reports the State House News Service. The Senate passed the law in November.
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The bill was introduced after the Yarmouth police sergeant was shot dead. Sean Gannon in 2018. The 32-year-old policeman was killed while he and other officers were serving a warrant at Barnstable. Thomas Latanowich was later convicted of second degree murder in the shooting.
Gannon’s K-9, Nero, was also shot down, but under state law, first responders could not treat Nero at the scene. He had to be taken to a vet. The bill would change the law so that K-9s injured in the line of duty receive on-site medical treatment.
Rep. Steven Xiarhos, a Republican from Barnstable, was Yarmouth’s deputy police chief when the shooting happened. He told the State House News Service that he would never forget the sight of an injured Nero searching for Gannon.
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“When we put him in the back seat, he was licking Sean’s seat,” Xiarhos said. “So I’ll never forget those days and that’s what motivates people to fix things and do things right.”
The bill still requires emergency crews to treat and transport people first before they can assist a K-9.
The governor has 10 days to sign the bill, veto it, or send it back to lawmakers with amendments — and Baker made it clear on Monday that he fully supports the legislation.
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“I’m glad he went through the process and made it to our office,” Baker told reporters. “We are going to sign him this week.”