A new law that protects all police animals within the state of New York went into effect Friday. The law is aimed at those who kill animals in the line of duty and it comes with an increased penalty. Our Michael Howard has the story.
NEW YORK STATE -- From sniffing out drugs and bombs to catching fleeing suspects, K-9s are one of most useful tools for police in stopping crime.
“Just the other day, one of our dogs tracked and caught people that were breaking into cars,” said Frank Lamonica of the Dutchess County Sheriff’s office.
The laws protecting them, if broken, were considered misdemeanors, meaning people who harm animals weren't severely punished while Sheriff's offices were left with one less deputy.
“They’re live animals,” said Lamonica. “But they’re also very expensive with the time and training you put into them, too.”
With Ape's Law going into effect Friday, the charges for killing a police animal goes from a misdemeanor to a felony, where if broken, a violator could see up to four years behind bars.
“People think that police dogs are just around to find and bite people and that’s just not the case,” said Lamonica.
Ape’s Law is named after Ape, an FBI canine that was shot and killed by a gunman in Herkimer County earlier this year. Six others were shot, four of them died.
With Ape’s Law, another bill allows a dog to get back on the job after it bites someone while on duty, according to Lamonica.
“You can get a waiver from the health department, so the dog wouldn’t be put out of service for 10 days,” said Lamonica. “It’s silly to put a dog out of service for 10 days after he bites somebody when it’s his job.”