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The Voice

Concord-Carlisle High School's Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Concord-Carlisle Regional High School

The Voice

Concord-Carlisle High School's Student Newspaper

Nero’s Law

Neros+Law

On Tuesday, February 15, Governor Charlie Baker signed Nero’s Law. The legislation will allow first responders to give medical care to injured police K-9’s. Emergency personnel can now treat injured working animals at the scene and transport them to an animal hospital, although humans would have priority on being treated and transported first. Thanks to this law, EMS staff will now have proper training in treating animals by the standards of the Office of Emergency Medical Service and be able to provide basic first aid, CPR, and life saving medication such as Naloxone. 

The unfortunate shooting and death of thirty-two year old Yarmouth Police Sergeant, Sean Gannon, which occurred on April 12, 2018 while Gannon was serving a warrant in Barnstable with his K-9, Nero, is what set the creation of the bill in motion. Nero had received a gunshot wound to the side of his face and the bullet was believed to be lodged in his shoulder. Under state laws, Nero could not receive treatment from first responders at the scene and had to be driven to the vet. Although there were many ambulances on site, he had to be transported in the back of a police cruiser. 

Dr. Kevin Smith, the medical director at VCA Hyannis, explained that the three primary causes of injury in police K9’s are overheating, gunshot wounds, and car accidents. Smith stated, “all are super amenable to early intervention you could do in an ambulance.” Molly Ahrensfield, a veterinarian technician at VCA Hyannis, added, “The first hour is a critical time for these injured K-9’s to receive care in order for them to heal properly and to actually survive.” Knowing that timing is crucial, coupled with the paramedics legal inability to administer medical help to Nero at the scene of the accident, Smith was inspired to draft the bill. 

(Photo from WJAR News)

The bill was then proposed by State Senator, Mark Montigny, and was filed by him and State Representative, Steven Xiahros, who was the Yarmouth Deputy Police Chief and at the scene of the shooting. Xiarhos remarks, “When we put [Nero] in the backseat, he was licking Sean’s seat. So I’ll never forget those days and that’s what motivates people to fix things and make things right.”

(Photo from Yarmouth Police)

Sergeant Sean Gannon was an eight-year veteran of the Yarmouth Police Department and was the first K-9 narcotics officer of the YPD. Denise and Patrick, Gannon’s parents, are excited about the new law. Patrick said “We have no doubt that if this was another K-9 and Sean was still with us, he would have been 100% behind this bill and working just as hard with everybody to get it passed to help someone else.” Nero now lives with Gannon’s wife, Dara. 

Similar laws are also in place in other states. California, Colorado, Ohio, and Wisconsin all allow pre-veterinary care by EMS for dogs and cats. Mississippi, Illinois, New York, and Michigan permit police K9’s to be transported by EMS. Maine also allows for both treatment and transportation for police K9’s and service dogs. Bills that are similar to Nero’s Law are currently pending in eight other states. While Nero thankfully survived that day, Nero’s Law will aim to ensure that other police K9s who dutifully serve and provide safety for their officers will be given a fighting chance in the future.

(Photo from the Yarmouth Police Department)

Sources: 

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Hannah Daniel, Co-Editor-In-Chief
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