FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - A new state law allowing police dogs injured in the line of duty to ride in an ambulance is now in effect. 

"These dogs are a huge part of our lives," said Nate Moseley, a deputy with the Forrest County Sheriff's Office and veterinarian at the Petal Animal Clinic. His partner is a K9 officer named Barry.

You often may recognize K9s in the back of a police car, but to a handler, dogs like Barry are not just pets, they are considered family.

Governor Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2091 and it has been four days since it's been in full effect in Mississippi.

This bill authorizes an emergency technician or other emergency personnel to transport a police dog injured in the line of duty to a veterinary clinic or a hospital emergency department.

"Any type of treatment to the dog will strictly be some type of oxygen and transport," said Ben Sones, chief of operations at  Lifeguard Ambulance Services of Lamar County. "The state law doesn't actually state that we must treat the animal, it just says that we must transport."

The responsibility of a k9 includes searching for drugs and explosives, locating missing people, finding crime scene evidence and attacking people targeted by the police. These dogs must remember several verbal cues and hand gestures.

"They're with us 24 hours a day, whether we're at home or at work," Moseley said. "They trust us and we trust them."

Experts say that obedience is key when it comes to training a K9 police dog and that it stands as the foundation for them.

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