Senate Approves Tougher Penalties For Injuring K-9 Officers

March 25, 2013

ALBANY, 03/25/13 -- State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta) today announced senate passage of legislation he co-sponsored (S.1079) that would increase the penalty for killing or injuring a police animal.  The senate bill has received newfound attention following the shooting of FBI K-9 Ape in Herkimer at the conclusion of a standoff with an armed gunman who had already shot six people, four fatally.  

“I call Ape the ‘Hero of Herkimer’ for his courageous sacrifice and feel he, and all police animals, deserve our respect and gratitude,” said Senator Seward.  “Ape gave his life to protect others and that kind of bravery should be honored.  A tougher law that provides a real punishment for those who harm and kill police animals is the right thing to do.”

Under current law, killing or injuring a police animal is a class A misdemeanor.  The senate bill which passed by unanimous vote would increase the penalty to a class D felony.

“Legislation revising the penalties associated with killing a police animal has received state senate support in the past.  The attention of Ape’s death has generated added interest and brought a number of assembly members on board as well,” Seward added.  

Last week Senator Seward took part in an Albany press conference advocating for this much needed change in the law.  Senate and assembly members from both sides of the political aisle were in attendance.

“Lives were lost and our community has been dealt a heartbreaking blow.  As police continue to examine the circumstances that led to the horrifying incident, there will be many unanswered questions.  There is one detail that is clear – we owe a great debt of gratitude to the police and others who responded to the multiple scenes, put their lives on the line, and sacrificed to protect us all and that includes K-9 officer Ape,” Seward concluded.

The bill has been sent to the assembly.