Law increasing penalty for killing police dogs signed

Legislation enhancing penalties for intentionally killing an on-duty police or search and rescue dog has been signed into law.

Gov. Christie signed “Schultz’s Law,” named in honor of a Gloucester Township police dog killed by a crime suspect on Nov. 30.

The law was drafted in response to the Schultz, a 3 ½-year-old German shepherd. After tracking down a robbery suspect and latching onto the man’s arm, Schultz was thrown into the path of oncoming traffic, where he was struck and killed.

It was sponsored in the Senate by Fred Madden and Donald Norcross, and in the Assembly by Paul Moriarty, Ruben Ramos, and Charles Mainor.

“Police dogs do not simply work alongside our police, they are part of our police,” Madden said in a release. “They provide a tremendous service and perform a vital function in assisting and protecting our communities. Protecting these animals, who are in turn protecting us, is to be taken seriously.”

Under the new law, criminals found guilty of killing a police dog or a dog engaged in a search and rescue operation will receive a mandatory minimum five-year prison term, with no eligibility for parole, and a $15,000 fine.

Killing a police or search and rescue dog previously was a third-degree crime and carried penalties of between three to five years in prison and fines of up to $15,000.

Other bills were signed into law as well:

S-125/A-322 (Connors, Van Drew/Rumpf, Milam, Albano, Vainieri Huttle, Conaway) – Establishes NJ Alzheimer’s Disease Study Commission.

Last week, Christie signed S-114/A-2299 (Connors, Madden/Wagner, Conners, Ramos, Gove, Rumpf) – Allows municipalities to provide free or reduced fee beach badges to active military and NJ National Guard personnel.

Law increasing penalty for killing police dogs signed