Better protection for police dogs in New Jersey
Those who kill a police dog in New Jersey already face harsh penalties, but the top Republican in the Assembly said the state needs more severe punishment for anyone who assaults a police canine.
Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) called for mandatory jail time for anyone who assaults a police dog.
"Under my plan, if you injure an animal that's involved in law enforcement you're going to jail for three months, end of story. No probation, no plea bargaining, that's it. You go to jail," Bramnick said.
The assemblyman sponsors "Vader's Law" (A-337) which is named to honor Atlantic City's best police dog. Vader has helped in the arrest of 95 suspects to date and has been assaulted by one out of every three of them. Sometimes his injuries required hospital stays.
"A police canine isn't just property. This is a very sophisticated, trained animal that is very loyal to law enforcement and loved by law enforcement and they need to be respected and the injuries that they have suffered have been horrific," Bramnick said.
A survey conducted by the United States Police Canine Association, New Jersey, Region 15 reported that one out of four physical apprehensions resulted in the police canine being assaulted. In addition, one out of six physical apprehensions resulted in severe injury to the law enforcement animal.
"I think the community supports the idea that when you attack an animal that's part of law enforcement there should be serious consequences," Bramnick said.
If Bramnick's legislation becomes law, the mandatory three-month jail term would apply to anyone convicted of purposely injuring or harming a dog, horse, or other animal owned or used by a law enforcement agency or a dog engaged in search and rescue efforts.