Barnstable State Reps. Support Paramedic Care For Police K-9s

A Barnstable Patch article written by Jimmy Bentley on February 6, 2020 discusses Representative Crocker's support for Nero's Bill, which would allow police K-9s to be treated and transported by EMS personnel.

Barnstable State Reps. Support Paramedic Care For Police K-9s

State representatives on the Cape want Massachusetts police dogs to receive the same medical care as human officers.

BARNSTABLE, MA — Four state representatives for Barnstable districts wrote a letter in support of a bill that would allow injured police K-9 units to receive emergency medical care and transport from paramedics. Massachusetts state law allows only veterinary professionals to adminster care to police dogs, but State Representatives William Crocker Jr., R, Timothy Whelan, R, Dylan Fernandes, D, and David Vieira, R, argued K-9 units sometimes have to wait hours to receive potential life-saving treatment.

The Cape representatives said H.4230, would allow emergency officals to treat police dogs the same way they would treat an injured human officer. The bill is pending approval from the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. A similar bill is also under consideration in the Rhode Island legislature.

One example the representatives brought up was Nero, the K-9 unit assigned to Yarmouth police Officer Sean Gannon, who was shot and killed on April 12, 2018 during a police standoff. Nero was also shot and had to wait nearly four hours before a retired K-9 handler could arrive at the scene and get him to a veterinarian for surgery.

"K-9 Nero survived but with such extensive injuries but with such extensive injuries, there was a high possibility that he may not have survived, exacerbated by the fact that emergency medical care could not be immediately adminstered to K-9 Officer Nero," the letter read. "Police departments treat their K-9 officers with the same regard as their human officers and believe that K-9 officers should be afforded the same emergency medical treatment and further care."

The bill has also received support from the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, as well as Gannon's family, veterinarians and members of the public safety community.

"Sergeant Sean Gannon's family has asked that something good come from their loss," the letter said. "Those who knew and worked with Sean want to see an omission corrected to protect all members of the law enforcement community."

Read the article here.