Harsher penalties for killing police dog possible

A new bill in the Utah State Senate looks to increase the penalties and charges against individuals who kill a police service animal from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony. Sen. Jani Iwamoto, D-Holladay, has sponsored the legislation known as SB57, and says her doing was was prompted after the recent deaths in the line of duty of two Unified police dogs. In a letter addressed to Utah State lawmakers, the handler of one of those dogs expressed his support for the bill and urged the legislature to take up the cause.

Representative Lowry Snow, R-Santa Clara, has introduced the same bill in the House. Currently a third-degree felony in Utah is only able to receive a maximum sentence of zero to five years in prison and a possible fine of up to $5,000. Meanwhile, a second-degree felony guarantees prison time, with a maximum sentence of one to 15 years behind bars and a possible fine of up to $10,000.

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