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Bill to Protect Law Enforcement Animals Goes to House

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INDIANAPOLIS – Today the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee approved a bill authored by Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh (D-Crown Point) that toughens penalties on those who kill law enforcement animals.
            House Bill 1093, coauthored by Rep. Linda Lawson (D-Hammond), passed with a 12-0 vote and will now be presented to the full House for consideration.
            VanDenburgh’s legislation requires courts to order those convicted to pay restitution for police animals that are killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty.
            “The cost to replace a police dog is around $12,000,” said VanDenburgh. “Local communities often have to find ways to raise that money on their own. This bill relieves local police departments of that burden.”
            The Chief of Staff of Crown Point’s Police Department, Keith Stevens, testified to the invaluable work of his K9 Unit. According to Stevens, his previous dog of four years helped remove more than 106 pounds of marijuana off the streets, and found criminals, suicidal juveniles, and elderly citizens.
            “We can’t reimburse the emotional aspect of losing a police K9,” said VanDenburgh. “Restitution of costs is the absolute least we can do.”
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