Gov. Baker signs Nero’s law into effect

Feb 16, 2022

Four-legged K9 officers will now be able to receive immediate emergency care and transport if they are injured in the line of duty under a new law signed by Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday.

The bill, known as Nero’s Law, was initially filed in the State Senate in 2019 by Sen. Mark Montigny, D-New Bedford, who also represents Mattapoisett. 

First-term Representative Steven Xiarhos, R-West Barnstable, the former deputy chief of the Yarmouth Police Department, filed Montigny’s language in the House.

The legislation unanimously passed through the State Senate in November 2021 and passed through the House earlier this month.

Under the new law, Emergency Medical Technicians can now provide canines with basic first aid, CPR, and administer life-saving interventions such as naloxone in case of accidental overdose during a drug search. 

The legislation was filed in response to the severe injuries suffered by Nero, the K9 partner of Sgt. Sean Gannon, a New Bedford native and Yarmouth police officer who was shot and killed April 12, 2018.

Nero was also shot and severely injured, requiring significant medical attention.

Despite there being multiple ambulances on site, first responders could not treat Nero at the scene and he had to be driven to a vet in the back of a police cruiser.

Nero survived his injuries, “but the inability to transport him shows callousness in current laws towards working dogs who risk their lives every day to serve the commonwealth,’’ according to Montigny’s office.

“This law will ensure the wellbeing of working dogs who risk their lives every day to keep us safe,” Montigny said in a press release. “I hope this provides some comfort to the Gannon family who fought tirelessly for this moment that will forever honor Sean and his fearless partner Nero. I also want [to] thank Governor Baker for his strong support. We look forward to joining with him to celebrate this special moment.”