A bill proposed by State Rep. Tony Scott would allow emergency personnel to treat and transport an injured law enforcement dog to a veterinary hospital if the ambulance isn’t needed for a human.
Currently EMS personnel in Connecticut are not required to treat and transport injured police dogs.
“While these dogs are not human, they are serving the community,” said Scott, who represents Easton, Monroe and Trumbull. “These dogs are doing things that police officers can’t do.”
The inspiration for the bill came from a Massachusetts law enacted last year first proposed as a bill by State Rep. Steve Xiarhos called Nero’s Law after the K9 partner of Yarmouth Police Sgt. Sean Gannon.
In April 2018, Gannon was shot and killed while serving a search warrant and his police dog, Nero, was also shot. Despite empty ambulances sitting at the scene, Nero had to be rushed to a veterinary hospital in a police cruiser because no law was in place to permit EMS to provide aid. Nero survived.
Scott said assisting people in need will always come first in emergency scenarios, but after EMS personnel have taken care of all of the human victims, they would be able to tend to any injured police dogs.
“It’s only if the scene is stable, meaning that there is no other need for EMS in terms of injured people,” said Scott. “If there is an injured victim, a police officer, or anyone else, [they are] to be treated first. Then the dog gets addressed after that. We prioritize people first so that will not change.”
Jon Arnold, the chief of Easton EMS, said ambulances carry oxygen masks for dogs, but his EMTs don’t know how to control bleeding on animals or handle poisoning. Arnold said if the bill becomes law then appropriate training would be needed.
“We have to be trained, and have a pre-arranged plan on what vet to transport the dog,” said Arnold.”
Scott said there would be additional training for EMS personnel to learn how to properly treat wounds and give CPR on injured animals.
“Training EMS would be the next step after the bill gets passed,” he said.
The Public Safety Committee must approve the bill by March 16 to proceed in the legislative process.
“All I’ve heard is unanimous support for it,” said Scott. “I think that carries a lot of weight.”