ORLANDO, Fla. — A new Florida law will increase criminal penalties for crimes committed against police K-9s.
On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill (HB) 1047 which increases criminal penalties for harming, harassing, or willfully resisting an animal working with police officers, firefighters, or search and rescue teams.
The law increases the criminal penalty for maliciously touching, striking, or causing bodily harm to a working K-9 or police horse from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, as well as increases from a second- to a first-degree misdemeanor the penalty for maliciously harassing, teasing, or interfering with a working K-9 or police horse.
“Florida’s K-9s play heroic roles in responding to emergencies, apprehending criminals, and keeping our communities safe,” said DeSantis. “In Florida, back-the-blue includes supporting our K-9s that fearlessly protect their handlers and use their unique skills to help people in ways that humans cannot. If criminals choose to intentionally harm these animals, the penalties must be harsh.”
HB 1047 also makes it a third-degree felony to resist, obstruct, oppose, or threaten violence against a police canine or horse working together with an officer.
In 2019 legislation was passed that raised the crime of harming or killing a police K-9 or horse to a second-degree felony and in 2021, legislation was passed that allows emergency service vehicles to transport injured police canines to a veterinary clinic to ensure they receive quick medical attention.
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