Herron Keyon Gaston

State Senator

Herron Keyon Gaston

Deputy Majority Leader

Empowering Communities, Driving Change

May 2, 2024

Senator Gaston Leads Passage of Bill to Protect Police Dogs

Senators Herron Keyon Gaston and MD Rahman pose with police officials and K9 Valor

Senator Herron Keyon Gaston, Senate chair of the legislature’s Public Safety and Security Committee, led passage Thursday of a bill that will require anyone convicted of injuring or killing a police or rescue dog to pay restitution to the dog’s owner.

The Senate approved the proposal, Senate Bill 339, on a unanimous afternoon vote, sending the proposal to the House for consideration prior to the May 8 adjournment of this year’s legislative session.

During a short floor debate, Senator Gaston, D-Bridgeport, thanked both canine and human police officers for their work to keep the public safe.

“The four-legged animals who serve as police dogs hold a very special place in our hearts because they protect our communities every day and their safety as well as their health is very important to all of us,” Senator Gaston said. “I think that this legislation is not only the right thing to do and a step in the right direction, but we should continue marching forward to protect all of our men and women who protect our communities every day.”

The bill compounds existing penalties and fines for killing or injuring a police dog by adding restitution for expenses like veterinary services and, if the dog is killed or injured so badly that it can no longer perform its duties, the costs of buying and training a replacement police dog.

The policy applies to police and rescue dogs killed or injured in the line of duty.

Intentionally killing a police or rescue dog is currently classified as a class D felony, punishable by as much as 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Meanwhile, intentionally injuring the dogs is punishable by as much as five years and prison and a $5,000 fine.

Contact: Hugh McQuaid | Hugh.McQuaid@cga.ct.gov | 860-634-4651