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The penalty for killing a police dog would be increased to a Class D felony from a misdemeanor under a bill proposed Tuesday, one week after an FBI police dog was fatally shot by a suspect after a shooting rampage in the upstate village of Herkimer.
After SWAT teams closed in on Kurt Meyers, 64, in an abandoned bar, they sent in the dog, named Ape, because a robot "could not navigate all the debris in the building," said Assemb. Andrew Raia (R-East Northport), sponsor of the bill. Meyers shot the dog, then was killed in a shootout.
"The dog gave its life to protect the police officers," Raia said. "It was on its first mission."
The current law gives greater protection to service dogs, such as seeing-eye dogs; injuring or killing them is a Class E felony. A Class D felony carries a minimum sentence of 1 year in prison, with a maximum of 7, according to the state Department of Criminal Justice Services.
Assemb. Marc Butler (R-Newport) said the local community of Herkimer was raising money to buy local police dogs protective vests. The new bill also is backed by two Democrats: Joe Lentol of Brooklyn and Ken Zebrowski of Rockland County.
Police have discovered since the shootout that Meyers was jobless, penniless and had maxed out his credit cards. He killed two people at a barbershop and two at a car wash before the standoff with police.