Penalties For Intentionally Injuring, Killing Police Dog Increase Under Proposed Bill – Hartford Courant

A bill now before the General Assembly’s judiciary committee would substantially boost penalties for intentionally injuring or killing a police dog.

The bill, SB241, would increase the penalty for intentionally injuring a police or search-and-rescue animal from a Class D felony to a Class C felony. The maximum penalties for conviction of a Class C felony in Connecticut are 10 years in jail and a fine of $10,000.

The penalty for killing the service animals would increase from a Class C felony to a Class B felony. Those convictions could have a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, unless the felony is first-degree manslaughter with a firearm — in that case the maximum sentence could be 40 years.

“I would love to see an increase in the penalty,” said Frank Reda, vice president of The Connecticut Police Work Dog Association and a retired sergeant with the Norwalk Police Department.

Reda was police dog Czar’s handler up until March 3, when Czar had to be euthanized. In 2011, Czar was stabbed when he stopped a violent robbery suspect who had gone after Reda. “He prevented that,” Reda said. “He put himself between us.”

Reda said the initial cost of a police dog is between $15,000 and $18,000 but based on specific training, some of which takes hundreds of hours, the cost can lie between $30,000 and $50,000.

“The dogs put their lives ahead of their human partner but also ahead of any police officer,” Reda said.

Nearly two decades ago, similar legislation was passed in Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton. The Federal Law Enforcement Animal Protection Act penalizes anyone who intentionally injures or kills any police animal. Those who are convicted of breaking the law face a maximum of 10 years in prison, at least $1,000 in fines or both.

In written testimony, attorney Richard Taff said the legislation creates “excessive and disproportionate” penalties. Taff said the legislation doubles the penalty for a person who intentionally injures a police dog and quadruples it for someone who kills a K-9 officer.

Rep. Fred Camillo, assistant House Republican leader, said in written testimony that the legislation would send a message “that attacks on our beloved police canines will be met with stronger penalties.”

“We owe it to man’s best friend and our police professionals’ best partner,” Camillo said.

Asociación Canina Málaga Asociación Canina Estepona

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