The bill would reverse a current law that bars first responders from transporting working animals in most situations
By Joe Difazio
The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.
BOSTON — After two Braintree police officers were shot and injured in a shoot-out that killed police dog Kitt, officials are calling for the passage of a law that would allow emergency personnel to treat and bring police dogs to an animal hospital.
The bill, dubbed Nero’s law, was named after Yarmouth police dog Nero, who was injured when his handler Sgt. Sean Gannon was killed in a 2018 shooting. The bill would reverse a current law that prohibits first responders from treating or transporting working animals in most situations.
Nero survived, but had to wait for treatment because the EMTs at the scene were not allowed to help. Kitt, a 12-year veteran, was shot and killed while engaging with an armed suspect earlier this month.
The bill was proposed by state Rep. Steven Xiarhos, who was Yarmouth’s deputy police chief at the time of Gannon’s death.
“The Nero bill is critically important and very personal to me,” Xiarhos said in an email. “I personally attended the funeral of K-9 Kitt and saw the pain in the eyes of the police officers that he saved that horrible day back on June 4.”
Xiarhos said that he retired to run for office because of Gannon’s death. The Yarmouth Republican said the bill has wide bipartisan support and awaiting a hearing date from of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.
“These animals deserve to be treated when injured and we must make this a reality,” Xiarhos said. “Their lives matter.”
Braintree Police Deputy Chief Tim Cohoon called the bill a “no-brainer.”
A man has been charged in the alleged murder of Toronto police officer and father-of-three, Jeffrey Northrup of 52 Division.
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