SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah)- A bill that would increase the penalties for those who intentionally kill or injure a police service animal unanimously passed the House Committee Wednesday.
Currently it is a third degree to kill a police service animal. Under S.B. 57, introduced by Senator Iwamoto, that penalty would increase to a second degree felony. A third degree felony is punishable from 0 to 5 years, whereas a second degree felony is 1 to 15 years.
This all comes just months after K9 Aldo and K9 Dingo were killed in the line of duty last year. Wednesday, their former handlers testified in favor of the bill.
“This day and age, our world is kind of dangerous, so to be able to have this penalty…increased to second degree…increasing the prison terms and things like that…that would come with it…we are trying to protect these dogs as much as we can,” Deputy Michael Graf of Utah County Sheriff’s Office said.
The bill now goes to the floor for debate.