The House approved legislation that would require EMS personnel to provide emergency treatment to a police dog and use an ambulance to transport the dog injured in the line of duty to a veterinary clinic or veterinary hospital if there are not people requiring emergency medical treatment or transport at that time. The Senate has already approved its own version of the measure and the House version now goes back to the Senate for consideration.

Senate sponsor Sen. Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford) first filed the bill in 2019 following the tragic death of Yarmouth Police Sgt. Sean Gannon who was shot and killed in the line of duty. His K-9 partner Nero was severely injured and had to be rushed to the animal hospital in the back of a police cruiser. Nero survived. Montigny also cites the heartbreaking loss of the beloved K-9 Kitt of the Braintree Police Department.

“K9 officers like Nero are selfless heroes who endure extreme danger in order to keep us safe,” said Montigny. “We must honor their loyalty and service by ensuring EMS personnel can provide basic treatment and transport should they sustain serious injuries. As a native son of New Bedford, Sergeant Gannon, and by extension his K9 partner Nero, is forever a beloved part of our community. The Gannon family has been a tremendous force in ensuring this bill got done, and we hope this helps honor their son’s legacy.”

Rep. Steven Xiarhos (R-Barnstable), the House sponsor of the bill, said that he was the police officer who sent Sean and the team of officers on that fatal mission and was there when Nero was in the arms of a police officer covered in blood, gasping for air and fighting to stay alive. He said that he still thinks of Sean and his family and the first responders from all over Cape Cod and beyond who came together on that horrible day back in April 2018 and who still carry the pain and the burden of the loss of Sean and shooting of Nero.

“In some way, I know Sean is looking down with pride and I know that K9 Nero, fallen Braintree K9 Kitt and the over 250 dogs serving and protecting their partner police officers, and all of us all over the commonwealth can breathe a sigh of relief,” said Xiarhos.

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