Fitchburg

State Police K-9 Killed in Standoff Was 1st Treated Under Nero's Law

The law allows police dogs and other working animals to be treated or transported by emergency medical personnel provided there is not a human in need they must attend to

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Massachusetts State Police K-9 Frankie was given full honors Tuesday after he was shot and killed by a suspect wanted for firearms charges who was barricaded in this Fitchburg apartment building.

“Frankie had every trait we seek in good law enforcement officers – canine or human – intelligence, immense courage, and dedication to protecting the public," state police Col. Christopher Mason said.

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The nearly 11-year-old Belgian malinois, who had been with the state police for the past nine years, was shot by 38-year-old Matthew Mack, who then turned the gun on himself. Frankie was the first state police dog to die in the line of duty, Mason said.

Mason said first responders did everything they could to save Frankie's life. He said he believes this marked "the first time or the first incident" where emergency care was made possible by Nero's Law.

Until the law was signed earlier this year, it was illegal for EMTs to treat wounded police K-9s. The law allows police dogs and other working animals to be treated or transported by emergency medical personnel provided there is not a human in need they must attend to.

“That’s special and powerful,” said retired Yarmouth deputy police chief and current state Rep. Steven Xiarhos, who got choked up upon learning the news. He had filed the legislation along with Sen. Mark Montigny.

Nero's Law was named after Yarmouth police K-9 Nero, shot while he and his handler, Sgt. Sean Gannon, were trying to capture a suspect in Barnstable in 2018. Gannon was killed and Nero, who had to be taken to a veterinarian in a police cruiser, survived.

“Using our skills as first responders and using an ambulance to treat a loving animal, that’s what this is all about," Xiarhos said. "So when I see that, it makes me sad but it also makes me proud.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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