Watch CBS News

Massachusetts Legislature Passes 'Nero's Law' That Aims To Protect Injured K-9s

BOSTON (CBS) -- A bill that allows first responders to provide emergency medical care to injured police K-9s is headed to Gov. Charlie Baker's desk, where he will sign the law into effect in the near future.

The Massachusetts House passed "Nero's Law" on Monday, the State House News Service reports. The Senate passed the legislation in November.

"I'm thrilled that it made it through the process and got to our desk, and we'll look forward to having some sort of signing ceremony associated with that," Baker said on Monday.

The bill was filed after the shooting death of Yarmouth Police Sgt. Sean Gannon in 2018. The 32-year-old police officer was killed when he and other officers were serving a warrant in Barnstable. Thomas Latanowich was later found guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting.

Gannon's K-9, Nero, was also shot, but under state law, first responders could not treat Nero at the scene. He had to be driven to a vet. The bill would change the law so that K-9s injured in the line of duty would receive on-site medical care.

Rep. Steven Xiarhos, a Barnstable Republican, was Yarmouth's deputy police chief when the shooting occurred. He told The State House News Service he'd never forget the sight of an injured Nero looking for Gannon.

Officer Sean Gannon With Nero
Officer Sean Gannon and his K-9 Nero in 2017. (Image Credit: Yarmouth Police Department)

"When we put him in the backseat, he was licking Sean's seat," Xiarhos said. "So I'll never forget those days and that's what motivates people to fix things and make things right."

The bill still requires that emergency crews treat and transport people first before they can help a K-9.

The governor has 10 days to either sign the bill, veto it, or return it to lawmakers with amendments - and Baker made it clear Monday that he fully supports the legislation.

"I'm thrilled that it made it through the process and got to our desk," Baker told reporters. "We are going to sign it this week."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.