UNITED STATES NEWS

A police dog’s death has Kansas poised to increase penalties for killing K-9 officers

Apr 2, 2024, 3:14 PM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is poised to increase penalties for killing police dogs and horses after legislators gave their final approval Tuesday to a measure inspired by a suspect’s strangling of a dog last year in the state’s largest city.

The Republican-controlled state House approved a bill with a 115-6 vote that would allow a first-time offender to be sentenced to more than three years in prison for killing a police animal, an arson dog, a game warden’s dog or a search-and-rescue dog and up to five years if the killing occurs when a suspect is trying to elude law enforcement. An offender also could be fined up to $10,000.

The current penalty for killing a police dog is up to a year behind bars and a fine of between $500 and $5,000, and the law doesn’t specifically cover horses.

“There is a lot of time and money put into those animals,” said House Speaker Dan Hawkins, a Wichita Republican who was the bill’s leading advocate. “They have to continually train all the time and so to have one killed, there’s got to be a pretty harsh penalty.”

The GOP-controlled Senate approved the measure by a narrower 25-15 margin last week, and the bill goes next to Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, who has not said publicly whether she will sign it. Kelly typically signs measures with bipartisan support, but most of the 11 Democrats in the Senate opposed the bill.

Increased penalties have had bipartisan support across the U.S. In Colorado, the Democratically led General Assembly approved a measure last month. Proposals have advanced in GOP-controlled Legislatures in Missouri and West Virginia and introduced in at least four other states.

The Kansas measure was inspired by the November death of Bane, an 8-year-old Wichita police dog. Authorities say a suspect in a domestic violence case took refuge in a storm drain and strangled Bane when a deputy sent the dog in to flush out the suspect.

But critics of such measures have questions about how dogs are used in policing, particularly when suspects of color are involved. Their use also has a fraught history, such as their use during by Southern authorities during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

“Police dogs have jaws strong enough to puncture sheet metal. Victims of attacks by police dogs have sustained serious and even fatal injuries,” Keisha James, a staff attorney for the National Lawyers Guild’s National Police Accountability Project, said in written testimony to a Senate committee last month. “It follows that an individual being attacked by a police dog would respond by trying to defend themselves.”

United States News

A anti-abortion supporter stands outside the House chamber, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at the Capit...

Associated Press

Democrats clear path to bring proposed repeal of Arizona’s near-total abortion ban to a vote

Democrats in the Arizona Senate cleared a path to bring a proposed repeal of the state’s near-total ban on abortions to a vote.

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Oklahoma man arrested after authorities say he threw a pipe bomb at Satanic Temple in Massachusetts

BOSTON (AP) — An Oklahoma man was arrested Wednesday after authorities accused him of throwing a pipe bomb at the Massachusetts headquarters of a group called The Satanic Temple. The Salem-based group says on its website that it campaigns for secularism and individual liberties, and that its members don’t actually worship Satan. Sean Patrick Palmer, […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Ellen Ash Peters, first female chief justice of Connecticut Supreme Court, dies at 94

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Ellen Ash Peters, who was the first woman to serve as Connecticut’s chief justice and wrote the majority opinion in the state Supreme Court’s landmark school desegregation ruling in 1996, has died. She was 94. Peters, who also was the first female faculty member at Yale Law School, passed away Tuesday, […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Vermont farms are still recovering from flooding as they enter the growing season

BERLIN, Vt. (AP) — Hundreds of Vermont farms are still recovering from last July’s catastrophic flooding and other extreme weather as they head into this year’s growing season. Dog River Farm, in Berlin, Vermont, lost nearly all its produce crops in the July flooding. The farm removed truckloads of river silt and sand from the […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Appeals court leaves temporary hold on New Jersey’s county line primary ballot design in place

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A federal appeals court on Wednesday affirmed a lower court’s decision to order New Jersey Democrats scrap a ballot design widely viewed as helping candidates with establishment backing. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals considered a slimmed-down appeal brought by the Camden County Democrats after the county clerks — the officials charged […]

7 hours ago

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas arrives to testify before a Senate subcommittee o...

Associated Press

Senate dismisses two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security secretary, ends trial

The Senate dismissed impeachment charges against Alejandro Mayorkas, ending House Republicans' bid to remove the Homeland Security secretary.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

A police dog’s death has Kansas poised to increase penalties for killing K-9 officers