Legislation to require a five-year minimum jail term for intentionally killing a police dog has been released by the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee.
The measure was introduced in the wake of the killing of Schultz, a 3 1/2 year-old German shepherd and member of Gloucester Township’s police force, this past Nov 30. Schultz was part of a 100-officer manhunt for a robbery suspect and was purposefully thrown into the path of an oncoming car on Route 42 after tracking down the suspect and latching onto the man’s arm. He was memorialized with full police honors.
Under the bill (S-2541), criminals found guilty of killing a police dog or a dog engaged in a search and rescue operation would 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 currently is a third-degree crime and carries penalties of between three to five years in prison and fines of up to $15,000.
Schultz was well-known throughout Gloucester Township, where he was a fixture at police presentations to schools and local organizations. He lived with his handler, Cpl. Mark Pickard, and his family. His memorial service drew hundreds of residents and K-9 police units from as far away as Virginia.
The bill was released by a unanimous vote and sent to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further considerations.