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Bill introduced in Legislature upgrading penalty for killing public safety dogs

policedog_optDeath of Gloucester  police dog leads to call for mandatory 5-tear-term

In the aftermath of last week's killing of an on-duty Gloucester Township police dog by robbery suspect, Sen. Fred Madden and Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (both D-Camden and Gloucester) have introduced legislation to punish such acts with a mandatory five-year jail term.

Schultz, a 3.5-year-old German shepherd owned by Gloucester's police force was part of a 100-officer manhunt for a robbery suspect on the night of Nov. 30. After tracking down the suspect, Schultz latched onto the man's arm. According to police, the suspect then purposely flung the dog into oncoming traffic on Route 42 in an attempt to escape his grip. Schultz was hit by a passing car and died shortly after.

"Schultz gave his life doing exactly what he was trained to do - hunt down criminals and help his human handlers arrest them so they could be brought to justice," Madden said Tuesday. "Schultz died a hero. Targeting and killing a police dog should be viewed no less harshly than directly assaulting a police officer."

"Dogs that assist law enforcement are valuable allies in the fight against crime," Moriarty said. "This dog was doing nothing more than his job serving and protecting the public. They deserve legitimate protection against abuse, and those who abuse them need to face severe punishment."

Under the bill (S-2541/A-3602) – named "Schultz's Law" in honor of the canine - people found guilty of killing a police dog or a dog engaged in a search and rescue operation would receive a mandatory minimum five-year prison term, with no eligibility for parole, and a $15,000 fine.

Killing a police or search and rescue dog currently is a third-degree crime and carries penalties of between three to five years in prison and fines of up to $15,000.

The lawmakers noted that Schultz was well-known throughout Gloucester, where he was a fixture at police presentations to schools and local organizations. He lived with his handler, Cpl. Mark Pickard, and his family.

"Schultz was more than a dog to his community," Moriarty said. "He was a friend, protector and an asset to all law-abiding citizens. This law will ensure he and his fellow K-9 officers have strong protections against those who shirk society's rules."

The bill has been referred to the both the Senate and Assembly Law and Public Safety committees for consideration.

– TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

 
Comments (7)
7 Sunday, 12 December 2010 23:51
gunnar @aol.com
I do agree with the long term prison sentence . The man Killed a Police Officer ,in the Line of duty .All you Morons out there would be talking a different tune, if you were the ones that were robbed.I was at the service for Shultz K-9 offficer it was just outstanding, I was very proud of G.C.P.D for that !!!!!!!!!!!!!
6 Friday, 10 December 2010 23:02
Steve Hunter
It should be no diiferent than killing a Police Officer....in fact the Police Canines are probably more dedicated than the humans...
5 Thursday, 09 December 2010 20:31
maria lucha
thats the problem with people just cause he has 4 legs does mean that he is "just a dog" he is an officer and a protecter just like any other officer and i strongly agree on this law if not 5 years they should get 25 yrs to life it is still murder no matter how you look at it!!! he servered and protected just as much if not more!!!!
4 Thursday, 09 December 2010 13:14
Have we gone overboard
I think this law is to harsh. Weren't dogs recruited so an officer did not have to go into dangerous situation but the k-9 could be called up..

Yes, there is emotional attachment. Yes, the animal needs to be paid for but 5 years and no parole is beyond reasonable punishment.

There is a problem with mandatory sentences and 3 strike laws. Thanks for letting me give my opinion. NJ
3 Thursday, 09 December 2010 00:01
Bobbi Hughes
I was under the belief that killing a "police officer" was punishable with a life sentence or the death penalty!! If not, it should be made a law! Whether the police officer is 2 or 4 legged. God bless them all.
2 Wednesday, 08 December 2010 00:15
Lieutenant Thomas Woodward
I do hope that New Jersey's legislators will get behind this bill and pass it into law. K-9 officers serve and protect the public as surely as their human handlers. It is a sin that they 'currently' are not viewed with the same judicial eyes as their human partners. Shultz has served this community with honor and a distinction that is comprable to any human officer and deserves to be protected in the same manner!
1 Tuesday, 07 December 2010 22:03
MARYANN HASH
THANK YOU. THANK YOU..THOSE WHO SERVE TO PROTECT AND SERVICE NO MATTER 2 LEGS OR 4 LEGS. SHOULD BE PROSECUTED. THANK YOU FOR STANDING TALK NJ.

LOVE FROM LANCASTER COUNTY PA
MARYANN HASH
mahash57@aol.com

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