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NJ Debates Harsher Punishment For K9 Killers

NJ Debates Harsher Punishment For K9 Killers

A memorial tribute to honor Kane, a Clark County Sheriff’s K-9 killed in the line of duty.

Associated Press

May 09, 2011

TRENTON — People who intentionally kill police dogs or dogs involved in search and rescue operations may soon face stiffer penalties in New Jersey.

The Assembly is set to consider legislation this week that would mandate minimum five-year prison terms — with no chance of parole — for such offenders, who would also face fines of up to $15,000. The current maximum sentence they now face is just three to five years in prison.

The measure — named for a police dog killed in the line of duty last November — was passed by the state senate earlier this year, so it would head to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk if the Assembly gives its approval on Monday.

The legislation honors Schultz, a 3 1/2-year-old German Shepherd who served with the Gloucester Township police force and was well-known in that southern New Jersey community due to appearances at many public events,

On the day he died, Schultz had helped track down a robbery suspect and sunk his teeth into the man’s forearm. But the suspect then swung his arm, and the dog was thrown into the path of an oncoming car, which struck and killed him.

He was later memorialized with full police honors at a ceremony which drew large crowds and media coverage.

Screen_shot_2011-05-09_at_8

K9 Kane, killed in the line of duty

“Dogs that assist law enforcement are loyal allies in the fight against crime,” said Ruben Ramos Jr., D-Hoboken, one of the bill’s primary sponsors in that chamber. “This dog, like many others, was simply doing his job serving and protecting the public. They deserve legitimate protection against abuse, and those who abuse them need to face severe punishment.”

Besides Ramos, other primary sponsors in the Assembly are Democrats Paul Moriarty of Turnersville, Charles Mainor of Jersey City and Gilbert “Whip” Wilson of Camden. It was initially considered by the Law and Public Safety committee, which gave its approval in March.

In the senate, the bill was sponsored by Fred Madden, D-Turnersville, who served 28 years with the New Jersey State Police, and Donald Norcross, D-Camden. It was passed by that chamber in February by a unanimous 40-0 vote.

Madden said police dogs are “vital parts” of the law enforcement agencies they serve with, so killing one should be viewed no less harshly than assaulting a police officer.

“Schultz died in the line of duty doing exactly what he and every police dog has been trained to do — hunt down criminal suspects and help their human handlers arrest them so they can be brought to justice.”


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  • O_s_max50

    rc86

    about 3 years ago

    962 Comments

    Lonna: The vests are great for the dogs. But remember, these aren't humans. Think about how a dogs body is shaped and how much they're still exposed even wearing those vests. Also, k9 vests are $1000+. Departments are cutting budgets already. You really think they're going to pay for a bullet RESISTANT (not proof) for k9's? By your thought process, sending any criminal to jail for anything is a waste of time. You really think sending a person to jail for 10 years for attempted murder is going to help them? If so, then it'd work with police k9's. Same situation either way you look at it. By up-ing the punishments that go with harming or killing police k9's it also shows that we will not take these situations as it being "just a dog." When that k9 runs down the armed murder, and get's killed in the process, he deserves all the respect and honor that LEO deserves. Including jail time for the offense. Besides, if this person hurts of kills a police k9 you think the offender wouldn't hurt or kill an officer? Think about it...

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    1Tinman

    about 3 years ago

    616 Comments

    This has been and will always be an emotional topic. I'm well known on my dept. for being an animal lover and have been asked many times why I don't go to our K-9 unit. My answer is two-fold but the most important issue to me is that if something happened to my K-9 it would rip me up as much (if not more) than if a human partner were hurt. That's emotion, not logic.
    Barnes97 has valid, logical points. A dog is a tool, as is a horse for mounted officers. That fact does not lessen the pain and sense of loss and Barnes did not say that it does.
    Logical reasoning and an understanding that mans best friends are a tool is the reason we send the dogs into a building first. It's better that a dog gets killed than one of us. I get upset every time I see a K-9 handler send the dog into a dangrous situation, but again, that is my emotions trying to overide my logic. If we start placing animals on an equal scale with human beings, we will not have placed animals on a higher level, we will have devalued human life.
    Up the penalty? Absolutely, but the reason should be due to violence being used to resist legal authority.

  • Me_max50

    danchey05

    about 3 years ago

    700 Comments

    I am all for stiffer punishments, and not just for this. I agree that with Lonna that there are other steps that should be taken in the area of police k-9 training. I also agree that if you kill a k-9 you are killing an officer. Where I live our k-9's are often the first "officer" in a building. They complete a shift and help to keep my "boys" safe. If we have an unsecured building or a suspect barricaded in a house you can bet that Kango or Tatter will be the first one in, the first one in harms way, and the one that most people will give into first. K-9's aren't just a tool they are a living, breathing, thinking, feeling being who risks it's own life and it's own self preservation for the lives of others. I am a huge dog lover and I think that gas chambers at shelters should be outlawed, every state should have strict spay/neuter laws and breeder regulations, and I think that if more handlers/trainers were shown the various dogs in shelters that are high drive and shown how to look for them there would be more saved. Yes it is possible to find great dogs with amazing drive in your local shelter. i have personally placed over 20 dogs in the past 10yrs with various LEO agencies, the latest being a bloodhound who went to the WVSP. I think harsher punishment should be considered for all crimes. When criminals get a slap on the wrist and know they can make a low bond by the end of the night they don't really care who they are hurting. In my opinion it should be three strikes and a needle but I know that will never happen. Maybe I am jaded. I see repeat offenders everyday and to be honest I would rather save a dog than a dirtbag any day.

  • Cruise_2014_max50

    BigNTS

    about 3 years ago

    6822 Comments

    I would like to know what other states have on the books regarding killing a K9. I far as I'm concerned this is long overdue.

  • 582602_3283682777720_334551836_n_max50

    LanaNJ

    about 3 years ago

    6950 Comments

    Just to note, I'm not a dog expert, and no disrespect to anyone else's opinion, just trying to think outside the box what would be best for K9 and LEO alike.

  • 582602_3283682777720_334551836_n_max50

    LanaNJ

    about 3 years ago

    6950 Comments

    Bump Top_Cat on this one, and I am one of the biggest DOG lovers probably on PL. In the Case of Schultz, It sad, but there are some details of the incident left out. I also think we kill more GSD/PSD by overbreeding them, for example only 2-5 out of 100 dogs pass the test to become a PSD, what do you think happens to the rest? FYI, there are over 7,000 GSD's in Shelters. IMO, a trained K9- from a "breeder", Could have the same tenancies as a Shelter Dog. Dogs, trained or not could all of a sudden surprise you and dart off after something such as a bird, a noise, another bark. I've been fostering High Energy Breeds for years, I've come into situations from my most Confident Dogs, Luckly I'm quick to get a grip on the situtation and have no Mouths or Bites, except one nip from a small breed. Like Top Cat says, I have Mixed feeling, If you lock someone up for 15 years, how do they pay $15,000? Let's remember, prisoners don't normally pay for their own room and board, WE DO! There are many ways to Protect PSD and Save a dogs LIFE, like donating felons (or your own) to non prof orgs like http://www.vestnpdp.com/ who provide K9's with Bullet and STAB PROOF vests. Trainers can save Dogs lives by volunteering their expertise on a Young GSD from a shelter, which will reduce the cost of a PSD by %90 or more. OK, so it may take a little more time, that's were trainers that care to save dogs lives can donate their time. 15 years in Prison at our expense is not going to Save a dogs life, IMO, the above options will.

  • O_s_max50

    rc86

    about 3 years ago

    962 Comments

    barnes97: a police k9 is a tool. Since when are they simply a tool? These are living, breathing creatures. I consider it just plane rude to call a k9 simply a tool.

  • Fallenherobadge-3-1_max160_max50

    barnes97

    about 3 years ago

    216 Comments

    I agree with Top_Cat. This appears to be a knee-jerk reaction and is being pushed through on emotions. I know many K-9 officer who dearly love their canine partners. To suggest that killing a police canine should warrant longer sentences than raping a human is just not acceptable. Police canines are tools for law enforcement officers to use to accomplish their job. Killing a police canine or destroying police property should warrant more severe punishment, but let's base the sentencing on sound, reasonable judgement.

  • Gods_team_max50

    IowaNinersFan

    about 3 years ago

    20778 Comments

    There is no debate IMO. If you intentionally hurt or kill a K-9, you should get stiff penalty.

  • Justified_max50

    Dewrah

    about 3 years ago

    270 Comments

    I stand by my previous statements; you kill a K9 you've killed a cop. One that does their job day in and day out, that goes home to a loving family. Step in the right direction, but we still have a ways to go.

  • Me_max50

    lemmonw

    about 3 years ago

    464 Comments

    i love this, all states should adopt this. Needs to be a longer sentence though!

  • Troy-polamalu_max50

    kaleihuaz

    about 3 years ago

    32 Comments

    so what's the penalty for people involved in search and rescues now and what are they looking at changing it to?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 3 years ago

    All the states should do what New Jersey is doing. Its a great idea and brings justice and closure to our four-legged friends and their trainers.

  • 251872743_00891b8267_max50

    Mikfly

    about 3 years ago

    96 Comments

    I've always enjoyed meeting a four-legged officer, and it's great to see offenders will be brought to justice!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    stringvirtuoso

    about 3 years ago

    4 Comments

    This measure should be passed on a national level.

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