TRENTON — A bill to increase penalties for threatening animals used by law enforcement agencies was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie today.
“Police canines serve valiantly alongside officers, performing critical roles in search and rescue operations, narcotics investigations and explosive detection,” said state Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Somerset). “As they selflessly protect their partner and the public we must ensure threats against these brave animals are taken seriously.”
Dubbed “Dano and Vader’s Law,” the bill adds to current law by making threatening the life of a law enforcement animal a fourth degree indictable offense. Conviction of a fourth degree crime is punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or both
Bateman sponsored this legislation after a 2008 incident involving Dano, a K-9 in the Somerset County Sherriff’s Office, and his handler, Lt. Tim Pino. During the arrest of a suspected drug dealer in 2008 the suspect’s boyfriend tried to distract police by threatening to kill Dano.
Vader is Atlantic City’s most productive police K-9 since coming into service in 2008. Vader has helped apprehend 95 criminal suspects, many involving physical apprehension.
“Cowardly criminals who threaten the life of a law enforcement animal will now receive the punishment they deserve,” Bateman concluded.
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