Death of FBI K9 spurs Senate to vote on police canine bill

By NEWSChannel 2 Staff

ALBANY, N.Y. - Senator Joseph A. Griffo says that the New York State Senate will be voting on a bill this week that would increase the penalties for killing a police dog.

Currently, under New York State law, those who harm a police canine can only be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This bill increases the penalties for killing or injuring a police animal by making it a Class D felony.

"As a former Mayor, who's has seen the work firsthand of these highly trained, heroic animals, we should consider felony charges when they're harmed," said Griffo. "These dogs help protect the public and when you attack them, you're a threat to law enforcement."

Griffo is a co-sponsor of the bill, Senate #1079, which would make it a felony to harm all law enforcement and emergency services canines.

It has a a companion bill in the Assembly sponsored by Assemblymember Kenneth Zebrowski, Griffo stated.

In addition, under current law, a person is guilty of this crime when the animal is killed or injured while the animal is performing its duties. According to Senator Griffo, this bill expands the crime to include killing or injuring the animal when the animal can be identified as a police animal by means of its presence in a police vehicle or an emergency vehicle, or by its enclosure in a marked area.

While the bill has passed the Senate in previous years (including unanimous support last year), last week's shooting death of an FBI-canine, "Ape," in Herkimer, has urged legislators to pass the bill once more.

Griffo joined Senators in urging that the Assembly also take up the legislation for consideration.

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