A bill to be introduced soon in the state Senate would increase the penalty for killing or injuring a police animal in the line of duty. The legislation is being proposed in light of the death of an FBI police dog, "Ape", in Herkimer last week. The dog was shot and killed by gunman Kurt Myers, who had earlier killed four people and injured two others in a shooting spree across two villages. Police fatally shot Myers after Ape was sent into the gunman's hide out.
Senators say state and local law enforcement agencies are increasingly relying on the use of animals to assist in crime solving as well as rescue and recovery operations. Senator George Maziarz of Newfane, Niagara County, says the legislation attempts to recognize the service these animals provide. "Killing or injuring a service dog in New York, a dog serving someone who is blind or otherwise physically challenged, is a penalty, but not a police or fire dog in the performance of its duties."
The bill proposes increasing the penalty for killing or injuring a police animal a Class D felony, punishable by up to 2 years in jail. Under current law, killing or injuring a police animal is a Class A misdemeanor.