TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation enhancing penalties for intentionally killing an on-duty police or search and rescue dog on Wednesday. The measure is named “Schultz’s Law” in honor of a Gloucester Township police dog killed by a crime suspect last year.
The bill was drafted in response to the Nov. 30, 2010 killing of Schultz, a 3 1/2 year-old German shepherd and member of Gloucester Township’s police force. After tracking down a robbery suspect and latching onto the man’s arm, Schultz was thrown into the path of oncoming traffic, where he was struck and killed.
Under the new law, criminals found guilty of killing a police dog or a dog engaged in a search and rescue operation will 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 previously was a third-degree crime and carried penalties of between three to five years in prison and fines of up to $15,000.
“Police dogs do not simply work alongside our police, they are part of our police,” said state Sen. Madden (D-Gloucester/Camden). “They provide a tremendous service and perform a vital function in assisting and protecting our communities. Protecting these animals, who are in turn protecting us, is to be taken seriously.”
The law takes effect immediately.
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