By Bob Katzen
The Senate 38-0, (House on a voice vote without a roll call), approved and Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law 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.
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.
“K-9 officers protect the men and women in law enforcement as well as the community at-large,” said Montigny. “These animals endure extreme danger from gun violence, narcotics and even explosive materials. Allowing our emergency personnel to provide basic treatment and transport is a commonsense measure that honors their contributions across the commonwealth. Sgt. Gannon was a native son of New Bedford and therefore his K-9 partner Nero is part of our community’s extended family. Words cannot describe the gratitude we have for the Gannon family for their tenacious and compassionate advocacy to get this bill done.”
“With Nero’s Law, we have the opportunity to save K-9 members of law enforcement where the opportunity to do so would not place a person at risk,” said Sen. Susan Moran (D-Falmouth). “K-9s are their officers’ partners, shields and scouts. Like Nero and Kitt, their job is to put themselves in danger to protect us, and despite the K-9s’ service to our commonwealth, an archaic law stood in the way of measures that could save these valued members of law enforcement. This has gone on long enough.”
(A “Yes” vote is for the bill.)
Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes