Yarmouth, MA – Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) in Massachusetts are currently prohibited by law from treating or transporting injured police K9s, but lawmakers are considering a proposed bill that would make delivering potentially lifesaving aid legal.
“We owe it to an animal we are pulling into service to do the best we can,” Yarmouth Police Chief Frank Frederickson told the Boston Herald. “It’s common sense.”
Under the current law, EMTs run the risk of being penalized if they help K9s in emergency situations.
“It’s illegal to do so in Massachusetts even though these paramedics, many have training … to be able to do that,” Representative William Crocker told The Boston Globe.
Crocker’s proposed bill would allow EMTs to consult with veterinarians to provide emergency medical care, and would absolve emergency personnel and assisting veterinarians from liability, the Boston Herald reported.
Humans in need of medical attention would receive medial attention prior to K9s, according to the bill.
Sgt. Gannon was rushed to a hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds.
K9 Nero was shot in the face during the attack, but had to be left bleeding at the scene due to current laws.
No one – including his fellow officers – were legally able to render lifesaving aid, according to WHDH.
“That fact that we couldn’t use a tool that was available to us because of some law that is really outdated and misunderstood, very frustrating. Beyond frustrating,” Barnstable Police Sergeant Troy Perry told the news outlet.
K9 Nero was ultimately rushed to an animal hospital by his former trainer, retired K9 Officer Peter McClelland, in the back of Sgt. Perry’s patrol car.
Although there is still a bullet lodged in his shoulder, K9 Nero has otherwise made a full recovery, and resides with his slain partner’s family, WJAR reported.
Chief Fredrickson said he fully supports the proposed law change, and argued that K9s are just as important as their human partners.
"We're going to give [the K-9s] every bit of care that they need. And quickly,” the chief told WJAR. “To take care of Nero after he was shot - we had to do everything we could to get that dog back to health.”
“We want to make sure that the service dogs that we have are treated right,” he told The Boston Globe. “We ask a lot of our dogs, and we need to give them the best care.”
Centerville-Osterville, Marston Mills Fire and Rescue EMS Officer Lieutenant Jason Davern agreed.
“They should to have the same treatment that my brother firefighters and my fellow police officers would receive…because they are a member of the team,” Lt. Davern told WHDH.