Photo courtesy of @jsokk9unit
When Jacksonville Sheriff’s K9 Officer "Fang", a three year old German Shepherd was shot and killed in Sept 2018 in the line of duty, his death would become the genesis of legislation to protect search & rescue, police and fire dogs as well as horses used in public safety functions. According to Jacksonville's Chief Mat Nemeth more than 100 police K-9s were killed across the country last year,. "That means it's upwards of 100 police officers that could have and may have been killed were it not for that police K-9. It's a critical partnership." said Nemeth.
Republican Senator Aaron Bean and Republican Representative Josie Tomkow sponsored the bills that will stiffen penalties for anyone convicted of intentionally causing great harm or death to a dog or horse working in public safety.
FL laws have protected police dogs since 2000, but now the protection will be changed from a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison to a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
The bill passed unanimously in both the House and Senate and is on its way to be signed by Governor Rick DeSantis. The bill will take effect October 1, 2019. Please thank your legislators for voting to protect the voiceless members of our law enforcement agencies. For these four legged officers are often credited with saving the lives of our two legged law enforcement officers.