April 10, 2023

BOSTON – State Representative Steve Xiarhos (R – 5th Barnstable) is asking dog owners across Cape Cod and southeast Massachusetts to stop by the Bourne Police Station this Wednesday for a Canine Blood Drive.

The first annual Cape Cod Veterinary Specialists (CCVS) Canine Blood Drive is taking place this Wednesday, April 12, from 10:00am – 2:00pm at the Bourne Police Station, located at 35 Armory Road, Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts 02532. It is being hosted by CCVS, the Bourne Police Department, and State Representative Xiarhos. CCVS team members will be on-hand to educate the community about the animal hospital’s blood bank and to screen eligible canines that are interested in participating.

According to Xiarhos, the blood drive was organized in honor of K9 Nero, a police service dog who was critically injured in the line of duty on April 12, 2018, as well as in loving memory of Yarmouth Police Sgt. Sean Gannon, who lost his life in the line of duty that same day. Xiarhos served as Deputy Chief of Police in Yarmouth at the time, and has made honoring Sgt. Gannon’s memory and the service of K9 Nero one of several cornerstones of his elected service to the community as State Representative.

K9 Nero is the namesake for a bill passed into law last year that permits emergency medical personnel to administer life-saving medical treatment to injured police dogs and to transport them to the hospital. “Nero’s Law” already has been used by several law enforcement agencies to provide assistance to injured police dogs, and its success in Massachusetts has inspired similar legislation to be considered by several other states this year.

“By holding this first annual canine blood drive on the five year anniversary of the tragic events that caused harm in the line of duty, we’re helping to keep Sgt. Gannon’s memory alive and to honor his service and sacrifice alongside that of his K9 partner, Nero,” Xiarhos said. “We are also hoping to provide much-needed medical resources to help service dogs and other pets who are injured and require emergency medical treatment. Animals like K9 Nero have been brought to CCVS in critical condition and need quick access to life-saving resources like blood in order to keep them alive in an emergency.”

The blood drive is one of several initiatives Xiarhos has been promoting to honor the service of Sgt. Gannon and K9 Nero. This session, Xiarhos has filed legislation to establish a fund to help pay for medical treatment and sustaining resources for police dogs in their later years, after their active duty service ends. The bill is commonly referred to as “Dakota’s Bill,” in honor of police K9 Dakota who was part of the law enforcement response to the Boston Marathon Bombings in 2013 and who suffered from post-traumatic stress injuries as a result of that service.

“These animals risk their lives to help keep their human handlers and members of the public safe,” Xiarhos said. “It is only right that we should honor their service by helping to pay for their care once they retire. Even though their service to the community has ended, these animals have ongoing needs which their caregivers need help meeting going forward. This bill aims to help address those needs.”

Steve Xiarhos is State Representative for the 5th Barnstable District, which consists of the town of Sandwich and portions of Barnstable and Bourne. Prior to serving in the Legislature, Xiarhos worked as a Yarmouth police officer for four decades, retiring from the position of Deputy Chief of Police in late 2019.