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Should killing a Police Dog be a Felony?

I have a trading card on my refrigerator of a police dog named “MP.” I met MP when I was doing a ride-a-long with a friend of mine who is a police officer here in Anchorage, Alaska. We had gone to a park to look for a woman who had gone in to a diabetic shock and wandered in to the woods. MP’s handler handed me the trading card when I asked the dog’s name.

I was absolutely mesmerized by MP. He is an 85lb, 6 year old Belgian Malinois who started working for the Anchorage Police Department in 2008. Later in the day, I would see MP again when the police department was trying to convince some car thieves to come out of a vacant apartment they had holed up in after running from the police. MP’s bark seemed to really help persuade the suspects to come out willingly.

The officer handling MP told me about how the dog lives with his family. It associates with his children and participates in the family like a normal dog. Then he goes to work and becomes a police officer.

Earlier this year, on March 14th, a dog just like MP, but working for the FBI in New York, was killed my a man named Kurt Meyers. This dog was significantly younger than MP, he was a 2 year old German Shepherd named Ape.

german shepherd police dogThe authorities were pursuing Kurt Meyers because he had killed 4 people earlier in the week. He knew they were coming for him and he holed up in a bar armed and ready to shoot at the police. Fitted with a bullet proof vest and a camera so that he could assess the situation for the FBI Ape went in first.

Ape was shot almost immediately. An FBI Medic was on the scene and tried fervently to save his life, but was unable. The FBI described Ape’s work as “heroic.” He was only the second canine to be killed in the line working for the FBI  his name has been etched into the wall at the FBI Headquarters in Quantico, VA.

Kurt Meyers was killed as well.

It came out in the days after Ape’s killing that it was only a misdemeanor in the state of New York to kill a police dog.  The New York State legislature acted quickly and it is now a felony. Here in Alaska, where I live, it is a class C Felony. However, it is only a felony in 22 states. In other states, such as Oklahoma, the penalty is stronger for killing someone’s pet than killing a police dog.

These laws need to change. Police dogs should be seen as police officers in the eyes of the law that they are working to maintain. Just like MP, these dogs are family members to humans and go to work everyday to serve us. We hope that you’ll share this article with a few of your friends and Follow this link to contact your legislators and tell them that this must happen!

Josh Brown is a dog lover, trainer and breeder in Anchorage, AK. He owns Far North Kennel and breeds German Shepherd Puppies. Josh writes a Dog Blog with training and behavioral tips for owners of all breeds.

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