MA Senate Approves Nero’s Law

by | Nov 30, 2021

The Massachusetts State Senate unanimously approved An Act allowing humane transportation of K9 partners, also known as Nero’s Law, ensuring law enforcement officers’ K-9 partners receive life-saving medical attention and transport if injured in the line of duty. The bill, first proposed by Senator Mark Montigny, comes in response to the tragic events that took the life of New Bedford-native and Yarmouth Police K-9 Sergeant Sean Gannon and severely injured his K-9 partner, Nero.

In April 2018, Sergeant Gannon was shot and killed while serving a warrant in the Town of Barnstable. Despite the multiple empty ambulances on site, Nero had to be rushed to the animal hospital in the back of a police cruiser. Current Massachusetts law prohibits emergency medical personnel from treating and transporting animals. Fortunately, Nero survived his injuries, but the inability to transport him showed that reform was needed to honor working dogs who risk their lives every day to serve the Commonwealth.

“K-9 officers protect the men and women in law enforcement as well as the community at-large,” said Senator Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), lead sponsor of the bill. “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. Sergeant Gannon was a native son of New Bedford and therefore his K9 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. I must also thank my colleagues Senators Walter Timilty and Mike Rodrigues for expediting this bill through the committee process.”

“K-9 officers play an integral role within our law enforcement community, regularly being exposed to great risks in order to keep the public safe,” said Senator Michael Moore (D-Millbury). “Despite these risks, these canines were not afforded the proper access to medical care that they deserve, and so I am very happy that we have passed this commonsense law to ensure that K-9 officers have access to treatment that honors their contributions to the Commonwealth.”

Nero’s Law authorizes emergency medical service personnel to provide emergency treatment and transport of K-9 partners. This includes basic first aid, CPR, and administering life-saving interventions such as naloxone.

Nero’s Law now advances to the Massachusetts House of Representatives for consideration.