BOSTON – State Representative Steven Xiarhos (R- West Barnstable) has refiled legislation that would allow police canines who have been injured in the line of duty to be treated and transported by emergency medical services (EMS) providers.
The bill, HD.326 An Act Providing for the Care and Transportation of Police Dogs Injured in the Line of Duty, otherwise known as “Nero’s Bill”, was filed in response to the April 2018 shooting of Yarmouth Police Sergeant Sean Gannon and his canine companion officer, Nero. The legislation was originally filed by former Representative Will Crocker in the 2019-2020 legislative session but was never voted on.
Nero was gravely injured in the 2018 shooting, but due to existing state law, the canine was unable to be treated or transported by EMS providers. At the time of the shooting, Xiarhos served as the Deputy Chief with the Yarmouth Police Department.
“I will never forget the sight of wounded K9 Nero being carried out, bleeding and gasping for air in the arms of a police office,” said Representative Xiarhos. “I will do everything in my power to make this bill become law in honor of K9 Nero and all of the devoted and loving animals serving and protecting us for generations to come.”
This bill would seek to allow emergency personnel to treat and transport injured working police canines. It would also require a full cleaning of the ambulance following the transportation of the animal and require any emergency personnel who renders care to have completed training consistent with standards approved by the Office of Emergency Medical Services.
“This bill refiled by Representative Xiarhos will take away any hesitation for first responders to administer emergency care to operational K9s and transport them to a veterinary hospital without fear of the sanctions that currently exist,” said Chief Frank Frederickson of the Yarmouth Police Department. “I hope that the necessity for these services will be rare but we all know that this situation can happen in any community and at any time. We owe this to the K9s and their handlers, who both operate in dangerous
Twenty-nine other legislators have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill thus far.
The deadline for representatives and senators to sign on as a co-sponsor is Friday, February 26th, 2021.