Today, the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, with the support of Senate Committee Chair, Walter F. Timilty, issued a favorable report for legislation filed by Senator Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford) that will create new protections for K9 law enforcement officers.
Montigny first filed the bill in response to the tragic event on April 12, 2018, that took the life of New Bedford-native Sergeant Sean Gannon. His fearless K9 partner Nero was also severely injured, requiring significant medical attention.
Despite the multiple empty ambulances on site, Nero had to be rushed to the animal hospital in the back of a police cruiser. Fortunately, Nero was able to survive his injuries, but the inability to transport him shows callousness in our laws towards working dogs who risk their lives every day to serve our commonwealth.
S1606, An Act allowing humane transportation of K9 partners aka Nero’s law, authorizes emergency medical service personnel to provide emergency treatment and transport K9 officers. This includes basic first aid, CPR, and administering life-saving interventions such as naloxone. Earlier this summer, Montigny appealed to the committee to report the bill favorably, and this afternoon the committee obliged his request.
“These K9s are incredible animals who fearlessly serve alongside the men and women in law enforcement during incredibly dangerous situations. Permitting them to be transported with basic, immediate care is just one way we can honor 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. We hope that this never has to be used, but it demonstrates the respect for the crucial work these animals do” said Senator Montigny (D-New Bedford).
S1606 will now advance to the Senate for further consideration. First-term Representative Steven Xiarhos also filed Montigny’s language this session in the House. Both branches will now have an opportunity to proceed with the legislation.