House OKs bill to provide injured police dogs ambulance transport, EMT care

 

STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives today approved legislation sponsored by Rep. David A. Bennett to allow police dogs injured in the line of duty to get emergency first aid from EMTs and be transported by ambulance to veterinary hospitals.

The legislation (2022-H 7021A), which now heads to the Senate, is based on a Massachusetts law that was introduced in response to the shooting of a police dog in Barnstable, Mass., in 2018. The bill was signed into law there last month.

“Police dogs are some of the most loyal, untiring public servants there are. They protect and serve the public alongside human officers, sometimes at great risk to their own lives and safety. They are also valuable resources, having undergone months or years of training to be able to perform special duties. They absolutely deserve to have all the necessary emergency treatment if they get hurt in the line of duty, and no EMT should have to decline to help them or face any kind of repercussion for helping to save their lives,” said Representative Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston).

Current law allows EMTs and ambulances to be used only for people.

Representative Bennett’s bill would allow EMTs to transport police dogs injured on the job to a veterinary hospital and to provide first aid, as long as there are no humans waiting for treatment or transport.

The bill directs the Department of Health, in consultation with police, EMTs and veterinarians, to develop policies and procedures for training EMTs for safe handling and first aid for police dogs, identifying veterinary hospitals that can accept them and sterilizing ambulances for allergens following the transportation of a police dog.

In Massachusetts, the bill is called “Nero’s Law,” after Yarmouth police K-9 Nero, who was shot along with his human partner, Officer Sean Gannon, while serving a warrant. Gannon’s wounds were fatal, and Nero nearly bled to death while holed up for hours with the suspect inside his home. Nero was eventually transported in a police cruiser for treatment because the EMTs on site weren’t legally allowed to treat or transport him. He survived his injuries and now lives in retirement with Gannon’s widow.

The bill is cosponsored by House Deputy Speaker Charlene M. Lima (D-Dist. 14, Cranston, Providence), Rep. Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Warwick), House Floor Manager John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton, Portsmouth), Rep. Evan P. Shanley (D-Dist. 24, Warwick), Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick), Rep. Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence), Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport), Rep. Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown) and Rep. Thomas E. Noret (D-Dist. 25, Coventry, West Warwick).

 

The nation is on the verge of five confirmed cases of Monkeypox. A man already tested positive in Massachusetts and the CDC expects the same from patients in Utah, New York and Florida. The U.S. is releasing a stockpile of vaccines for those at high risk.       President Biden is headed home after his five-day trip to Asia. He wrapped things up by taking part in a summit with the leaders of Japan, India and Australia. It came a day after he said the U.S. would help defend Taiwan if China invades, much like the support he's shown to Ukraine.       The leader of Ukraine says he'll only meet with Russia's president to discuss ending the war. Volodymyr Zelensky [[ VLO-doe-meer ze-LEN-skee ]] told that to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He said Vladimir Putin is the only one who can stop the three-month attacks.       Polls are now open in Georgia for today's primary election. Governor Brian Kemp is favored to win the GOP nomination. Alabama and Arkansas also have governor races and will begin in-person voting soon. Meantime, Texas has several runoffs and there's a special election in Minnesota.       The Southern Baptist Convention executive committee is meeting today over a report about hiding sexual abuse for years. Church leaders in the country's largest Protestant denomination are accused of ignoring or dismissing complaints. The focus will be on what to do next.        Samsung and Chrysler parent Stellantis will reveal a new battery plant in Indiana today. This comes as Chrysler reportedly ramps up plans to produce electric vehicles. The plant is expected to be built near other pants in Kokomo [[ KOKE-uh-mo ]].