The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Law Proposed to Protect Washington, DC Police Animals

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Law Proposed to Protect Washington, DC Police Animals

Washington, DC - Police dogs and horses do a lot of work to help and protect their police officer partners, so D.C. police support a proposed new law to help protect the animals by imposing stiff fines and prison sentences for injuring or killing them.

“Any police dog that we have goes home with the handler,” Sgt. Johnnie Walter said. “He's with us 24 hours a day. We spend more time with these animals than we do our own family.”

Retired police officer Marcello Muzzatti spent 20 years on K-9 patrol with six different dogs, but he emotionally remembered his last, Checho.

“Worked the streets until 2008 when he retired,” Muzzatti said.” He then passed away in September of 2011. He lived to be 15 years old and he was my partner and my friend.”

That's part of why Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells -- chairman of the Judiciary Committee -- is drafting legislation protecting the police animals.

Injuring a police animal in the line of duty would have a maximum fine of $12,500 and a five-year prison sentence. Killing an official animal would be a $25,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.

“Law enforcement animals are important,” Wells said. “They're an important component of insuring public safety.”

Police dogs are trained to be aggressive on command. Few are actually injured, but officers say laws need to protect them.

The District's new legislation is similar to protections that already are in the law for federal law enforcement animals.



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