Massachusetts Governor Signs ‘Nero’s Law’
The legislation known as Nero’s Law, inspired by the tragic killing of New Bedford native and Yarmouth Police Sergeant Sean Gannon and injuring of his K-9 partner Nero, has now officially been signed into law by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.
Governor Baker today signed the legislation, filed by Senator Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), but there will be a formal signing ceremony in the coming weeks, according to a release from Sen. Montigny’s office.
On April 12, 2018, the 32-year-old Sgt. Gannon was among a team of officers serving a warrant at a home in Barnstable, when he was shot by 30-year-old Thomas Latanowich of Somerville.
Gannon later died at a local hospital, and his K-9 partner Nero was also shot and severely injured, requiring significant medical attention. He later recovered from his injuries.
“Despite the multiple empty ambulances on site, Nero had to be rushed to the animal hospital in the back of a police cruiser,” Montigny’s office said in the release. “Fortunately, Nero was able to survive his injuries, but the inability to transport him shows callousness in our laws towards working dogs who risk their lives every day to serve our commonwealth.”
Nero’s Law “authorizes emergency medical service personnel to provide emergency treatment and transport K9 officers. This includes basic first aid, CPR, and administering life-saving interventions such as naloxone.”
The bill was passed by the Senate in November 2021 and engrossed by the House earlier this month.
“This law will ensure the wellbeing of working dogs who risk their lives every day to keep us safe,” Sen. Montigny said in the 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.”
Latanowich was convicted of second-degree murder in August of 2021.