SOMERVILLE, N.J. (AP) -- A police dog who was the namesake for a New Jersey law that stiffened penalties for injuring or threatening the lives of law enforcement animals has died.

Dano and his handler Capt. Tim Pino during an appearance on the Jim Gearhart show on Jan. 16, 2014 (Annette Petriccione, Townsquare Media NJ)

Somerset County authorities say Dano, a 13-year-old narcotics-sniffing Belgian Malinois, died last week. He had been in declining health and was due to retire at year's end.

"Dano's Law" came about after the canine was threatened in 2008 by a suspected drug dealer.

Although the suspect was later arrested, Dano's handler voiced concern about his family's safety because he took the dog and K-9 vehicle home with him.

The measure signed into law last year by Gov. Chris Christie makes it a fourth-degree indictable offense to threaten the life of a police dog. Offenders can face up to 18 months in prison.


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