Sen. Joseph Griffo and other lawmakers want to stiffen penalties for crimes against police dogs.
Griffo, who represents central and eastern parts of St. Lawrence County, joined several senators Tuesday who said that the Senate will be voting on a bill increase the penalties for killing or harming a police dog.
Currently, under New York State law, those who harm a police canine can only be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.
This bill increases the penalties for killing or injuring a police animal by making it a Class D felony.
“As a former mayor, who has seen the work firsthand of these highly trained, heroic animals, we should consider felony charges when they’re harmed,” Griffo said in a release. “These dogs help protect the public and when you attack them, you’re a threat to law enforcement.”
Griffo is a co-sponsor of the bill, Senate 1079 which would make it a felony to harm all law enforcement and emergency services canines. S.1079 has a companion bill sponsored in the Assembly.
In addition, under current law, a person is guilty of this crime when the animal is killed or injured while the animal is performing its duties.
This bill expands the crime to include killing or injuring the animal when the animal can be identified as a police animal by means of its presence in a police vehicle or an emergency vehicle, or by its enclosure in a marked area.
While the bill has passed the Senate in previous years (including unanimous support last year – see below), last week’s shooting death of an FBI-canine, “Ape,” in Herkimer, has urged legislators to pass the bill once more.
Griffo joined senators in urging that the Assembly also take up the legislation for consideration.