Bill that would allow emergency treatment for police dogs filed after 7NEWS investigation

BOSTON (WHDH) - Action on Beacon Hill after a 7News exclusive investigation: It’s shocking but true: All the brave law enforcement officers in Massachusetts do not get equal opportunity for medical treatment when they’re injured in the line of duty. Hank Phillippi Ryan Investigates.

It’s a change that would be a tribute to this fallen officer and his brave canine partner: A bill that would improve the medical care given to police dogs in Massachusetts when they are injured in the line of duty.

“It’s time to be able to fix this gap,” Representative Will Crocker, from Centerville, told 7 Investigates.

Yarmouth officer Sean Gannon and Nero were serving a warrant at a home last year when the man inside started shooting.

Officer Gannon was hit. An ambulance raced him to the hospital, but he died.

Nero was trapped inside with the gunman. When police eventually captured the suspect and got Nero out, he was badly hurt.

But when Nero was almost killed in the line of duty, there was one thing his fellow officers were not allowed to do to help him.

Last year our investigation showed that even though paramedics were at the scene, they weren’t allowed to help Nero.

“Under the law would you be allowed to treat Nero?” Hank asked Lieutenant Jason Davern, an EMS officer from Centerville-Osterville, Marston Mills Fire and Rescue.

“Currently I would not,” he said.

Officers had to put the bleeding dog in a police car and race him to an animal hospital.

Nero recovered. But the next injured police dog might not be so lucky.

After our investigation, Representative Crocker filed Nero’s Bill. “It’s absolutely time for this to change in Massachusetts,” Crocker said.

The bill would allow injured working police K-9s to be treated and transported by EMT’s. It even requires emergency responders to get special canine training.

“Human police officers and their k9 officers need to be treated the same way when they’re injured in the line of duty,” Crocker said. “They’re protecting us, they’re protecting the community.”

Police officers told Hank passing Nero’s bill would honor the teamwork of Officer Gannon and Nero. Lawmakers will hold their first hearing on the bill at the State House Thursday.

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