Governor signs new protections for police K-9s

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Governor Ron DeSantis ceremoniously signed legislation increasing penalties for harming a police dog or horse Wednesday morning. It comes after a Jacksonville police dog named Fang was shot and killed by a carjacker last year.

Deputy Matt Herrera says it was like losing a member of his family.

“You see the mantra, the big bad police dog and you can’t pet them, you know, this is a ferocious animal. It’s not the case. They are so well trained. You can see there’s all kinds of people around here and all he cares about is a yellow foam ball. So they have that switch and we train that switch into them," said Herrera. "The same thing we do. Super nice, but when it's time for go time he knows it's time for go time."

“These dogs love to work and they are so loyal," said Debbie Johnson, founder of K-9s United. "And they would literally sacrifice their life to keep us safe. How can you not honor that?”

The legislation makes harming a police dog or horse a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.