A bill proposed by Massachusetts Rep. Steven Xiarhos may soon make it a reality for police dogs injured in the line of duty to be safely transported to a veterinary clinic by emergency medical services (EMS).
Titled "Nero's Law," bill S.1431 is named after pooch Nero, who was seriously injured in (but survived) a 2018 shooting that tragically took the life of his human partner, Yarmouth police Sgt. Sean Gannon.
If passed into law, the legislation would "allow humane transportation of K9 partners," including service dogs, accelerant-detection dogs and search-and-rescue dogs.
The bill goes on to explain what would be allowed for canines under EMS care, including "opening and manually maintaining an airway," "giving mouth-to-snout or mouth-to-barrier ventilation," "administering oxygen" and "immobilizing fractures."
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"An EMS provider may require a member of the law enforcement department or agency accompany the police dog during transport," it notes.
According to the MSPCA, "Nero suffered life-threatening injuries" during the shooting "and was unable to be rescued due to existing state law that prohibits working animals from being treated or transported by emergency personnel."
"Instead, Nero had to wait nearly four hours before a retired K9 police officer could arrive on scene to retrieve Nero and help with his injuries before he was driven to the emergency veterinary hospital," the group adds.
Xiarhos — who was Gannon's deputy police chief at the time of his death — called for the bill's passage on Monday to mark the third anniversary of his partner's death.
"I will never forget the sight of K9 Nero covered in blood and fighting for his life after being rescued by the brave police officers on that horrible day," Xiarhos said, according to Boston-area station WCBV.
"K9 Nero never gave up trying to protect his fallen hero. Now it is time for us to fight for him and all the devoted police dogs across our Commonwealth who serve and protect their handlers and all of us, now and for generations to come," the lawmaker added.
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