New bill looks to protect police dogs

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A new bill making its way through the California State Senate could bring stiffer penalties to anyone who assaults or kills a police dog.

Lawmakers want to make it a felony for anyone who intentionally kills or inflicts serious injury to a police dog in the line of duty.

"We've lost ten K9's in the last five years here in the state of California. You've had some incidents here, two injuries in Visalia and another one in Kings County so it's important. I think that this should be lifted up to a felony," says State Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado).

Former Fresno Mayor and current local Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) is co-sponsoring the Police Dog Protection Act of 2018.

"Often times they have been beaten they have been stabbed they have been shot and this can't be a misdemeanor like a parking ticket it really needs to be raised to a felony and that's what the bill does," says Patterson.

Many forget these dogs are cops, sworn peace officers with their own ID's and they carry a badge.

"Whenever we have a suspect that is hiding, running, wanting to fight with officers it really helps to have these dogs out in front because their main goal is compliance and these dogs are great for compliance. its good for the suspect its good for the officers its keeps everybody safe," says Fresno Police Officer Brian Freer.

The bill, which also includes police horses, heads to the State Senate next Tuesday and then to the assembly. If it passes out of both houses, it will head to Governor Jerry Brown's desk for his signature.
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