Canton officers support OH bill that stiffens penalties for crimes against K-9's

Canton officers support bill to make penalties for crimes against K-9s tougher

CANTON, OH (WOIO) - The story of K-9 Jethro who died saving the life of his partner, Officer Ryan Davis, has touched so many people's hearts and now Davis is paying it back by working to pass a bill pushing for tougher punishment for anyone who harms police  K-9's.

Canton Police Officers Ryan Davis  and Officer Eric Stanbro, the K-9 head trainer at the department were in Columbus Wednesday to speak in support of HB 447.

The bill was was introduced following the murder of K9 Jethro and passed unanimously. Officers Davis and  Stanbro say this has been a deadly year for K9s all over the country---the dogs lay their lives on the line for officers.

"All of our K9s are trained that way to save our lives and the lives of other officers and their murders should not be treated as if they were  meaningless,' says Officer Stanbro.

In January, Officer Davis' partner K-9 Jethro was shot and killed in an aggravated robbery. 22-year-old Kelontre Barefield was charged. Officer Davis says K-9 Jethro took the bullet meant for him.

"K9 Jethro wasn't just a pet. He was my partner, he was a member of my family.  He's also the reason I sit here before you instead of being a name etched on the wall of various law enforcement memorials around the country. Sorry. Jethro gave his life to save mine," said Officer Davis.

"We could see the emotion, it really had a major impact," said State Representative Rick Perales. "Those are special animals and they should be treated a little better than what our law treats them today."

State Representatives Kirk Schuring and Stephen Slesnick sponsored the bill but Perales says the bill has legs and they're all in.

House Bill 447 heads to the House floor and then hopefully Senate where representatives believe it will pass. The concern is the amount of bills---there are more than 500 to consider before the end of the year. But lawmakers believe Officer Davis' testimony will help move the bill forward.

2015-2016

Representatives Schuring, Slesnick
A BILL

To amend section 2921.321 of the Revised Code to prohibit a person from intentionally killing a police dog in the line of duty.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:

Section 1. That section 2921.321 of the Revised Code be amended to read as follows:

Sec. 2921.321. (A) No person shall knowingly cause, or attempt to cause, physical harm to a police dog or horse in either of the following circumstances:

(1) The police dog or horse is assisting a law enforcement officer in the performance of the officer's official duties at the time the physical harm is caused or attempted.

(2) The police dog or horse is not assisting a law enforcement officer in the performance of the officer's official duties at the time the physical harm is caused or attempted, but the offender has actual knowledge that the dog or horse is a police dog or horse.

(B) No person shall purposely cause the death of a police dog by use of force when the police dog is assisting a law

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enforcement officer in the performance of the officer's official duties.

(C) No person shall recklessly do any of the following:

(1) Taunt, torment, or strike a police dog or horse;

(2) Throw an object or substance at a police dog or horse;

(3) Interfere with or obstruct a police dog or horse, or interfere with or obstruct a law enforcement officer who is being assisted by a police dog or horse, in a manner that does any of the following:

(a) Inhibits or restricts the law enforcement officer's control of the police dog or horse;

(b) Deprives the law enforcement officer of control of the police dog or horse;

(c) Releases the police dog or horse from its area of control;

(d) Enters the area of control of the police dog or horse without the consent of the law enforcement officer, including placing food or any other object or substance into that area;

(e) Inhibits or restricts the ability of the police dog or horse to assist a law enforcement officer.

(4) Engage in any conduct that is likely to cause serious physical injury or death to a police dog or horse;

(5) If the person is the owner, keeper, or harborer of a dog, fail to reasonably restrain the dog from taunting, tormenting, chasing, approaching in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack, or attempting to bite or otherwise endanger a police dog or horse that at the time of the conduct

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is assisting a law enforcement officer in the performance of the officer's duties or that the person knows is a police dog or horse.

(C) (D) No person shall knowingly cause, or attempt to cause, physical harm to an assistance dog in either of the following circumstances:

(1) The dog is assisting or serving a blind, deaf or hearing impaired, or mobility impaired person at the time the physical harm is caused or attempted.

(2) The dog is not assisting or serving a blind, deaf or hearing impaired, or mobility impaired person at the time the physical harm is caused or attempted, but the offender has actual knowledge that the dog is an assistance dog.

(D) (E) No person shall recklessly do any of the following:

(1) Taunt, torment, or strike an assistance dog;

(2) Throw an object or substance at an assistance dog;

(3) Interfere with or obstruct an assistance dog, or interfere with or obstruct a blind, deaf or hearing impaired, or mobility impaired person who is being assisted or served by an assistance dog, in a manner that does any of the following:

(a) Inhibits or restricts the assisted or served person's control of the dog;

(b) Deprives the assisted or served person of control of the dog;

(c) Releases the dog from its area of control;

(d) Enters the area of control of the dog without the

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consent of the assisted or served person, including placing food or any other object or substance into that area;

(e) Inhibits or restricts the ability of the dog to assist the assisted or served person.

(4) Engage in any conduct that is likely to cause serious physical injury or death to an assistance dog;

(5) If the person is the owner, keeper, or harborer of a dog, fail to reasonably restrain the dog from taunting, tormenting, chasing, approaching in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack, or attempting to bite or otherwise endanger an assistance dog that at the time of the conduct is assisting or serving a blind, deaf or hearing impaired, or mobility impaired person or that the person knows is an assistance dog.

(E)(F)(1) Whoever violates division (A) of this section is guilty of assaulting a police dog or horse. Except as otherwise provided in this division, assaulting a police dog or horse is a misdemeanor of the second degree. If the violation results in the death of the police dog or horse, assaulting a police dog or horse is a felony of the third degree. If the violation results in serious physical harm to the police dog or horse other than its death, assaulting a police dog or horse is a felony of the fourth degree. If the violation results in physical harm to the police dog or horse other than death or serious physical harm, assaulting a police dog or horse is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(2) Whoever violates division (B) of this section is guilty of intentionally killing a police dog in the line of duty, a felony of the first degree.

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(3) Whoever violates division (C) of this section is guilty of harassing a police dog or horse. Except as otherwise provided in this division, harassing a police dog or horse is a misdemeanor of the second degree. If the violation results in the death of the police dog or horse, harassing a police dog or horse is a felony of the third degree. If the violation results in serious physical harm to the police dog or horse, but does not result in its death, harassing a police dog or horse, is a felony of the fourth degree. If the violation results in physical harm to the police dog or horse, but does not result in its death or in serious physical harm to it, harassing a police dog or horse is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(3) (4) Whoever violates division (C) (D) of this section is guilty of assaulting an assistance dog. Except as otherwise provided in this division, assaulting an assistance dog is a misdemeanor of the second degree. If the violation results in the death of the assistance dog, assaulting an assistance dog is a felony of the third degree. If the violation results in serious physical harm to the assistance dog other than its death, assaulting an assistance dog is a felony of the fourth degree. If the violation results in physical harm to the assistance dog other than death or serious physical harm, assaulting an assistance dog is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(4) (5) Whoever violates division (D) (E) of this section is guilty of harassing an assistance dog. Except as otherwise provided in this division, harassing an assistance dog is a misdemeanor of the second degree. If the violation results in the death of the assistance dog, harassing an assistance dog is a felony of the third degree. If the violation results in serious physical harm to the assistance dog, but does not result

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in its death, harassing an assistance dog is a felony of the fourth degree. If the violation results in physical harm to the assistance dog, but does not result in its death or in serious physical harm to it, harassing an assistance dog is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(5) (6) In addition to any other sanction or penalty imposed for the offense under this section, Chapter 2929., or any other provision of the Revised Code, whoever violates division (A), (B), (C), or (D), or (E) of this section is responsible for the payment of all of the following:

(a) Any veterinary bill or bill for medication incurred as a result of the violation by the police department regarding a violation of division (A) or, (B), or (C) of this section or by the blind, deaf or hearing impaired, or mobility impaired person assisted or served by the assistance dog regarding a violation of division (C) (D) or (D) (E) of this section;

(b) The cost of any damaged equipment that results from the violation;

(c) If the violation did not result in the death of the police dog or horse or the assistance dog that was the subject of the violation and if, as a result of that dog or horse being the subject of the violation, the dog or horse needs further training or retraining to be able to continue in the capacity of a police dog or horse or an assistance dog, the cost of any further training or retraining of that dog or horse by a law enforcement officer or by the blind, deaf or hearing impaired, or mobility impaired person assisted or served by the assistance dog;

(d) If the violation resulted in the death of the police

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dog or horse or the assistance dog that was the subject of the violation or resulted in serious physical harm to that dog or horse to the extent that the dog or horse needs to be replaced on either a temporary or a permanent basis, the cost of replacing that dog or horse and of any further training of a new police dog or horse or a new assistance dog by a law enforcement officer or by the blind, deaf or hearing impaired, or mobility impaired person assisted or served by the assistance dog, which replacement or training is required because of the death of or the serious physical harm to the dog or horse that was the subject of the violation.

(F) (G) This section does not apply to a licensed veterinarian whose conduct is in accordance with Chapter 4741. of the Revised Code.

(G) (H) This section only applies to an offender who knows or should know at the time of the violation that the police dog or horse or assistance dog that is the subject of a violation under this section is a police dog or horse or an assistance dog.

(H) (I) As used in this section:

(1) "Physical harm" means any injury, illness, or other physiological impairment, regardless of its gravity or duration.

(2) "Police dog" or "police horse" means a dog or horse that has been trained, and may be used, to assist law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties.

(3) "Serious physical harm" means any of the following:

(a) Any physical harm that carries a substantial risk of death;

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(b) Any physical harm that causes permanent maiming or that involves some temporary, substantial maiming;

(c) Any physical harm that causes acute pain of a duration that results in substantial suffering.

(4) "Assistance dog," "blind," and "mobility impaired person" have the same meanings as in section 955.011 of the Revised Code.

Section 2. That existing section 2921.321 of the Revised Code is hereby repealed.

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