Some lawmakers in Oklahoma want harsher punishment for anyone who kills a police K-9 dog or horse.
Justin Adams, the Oklahoma State Director for Vigilant Canine Services International, is working with State Senator Mark Allen to get a bill nicknamed "Creed's Law" approved. If passed, anyone convicted of killing a police K-9 or horse would be guilty of a felony, instead of a misdemeanor.
That's after Panama Police lost their only K-9 "Creed" in August. Creed was shot and killed in the line of duty, according to police.
"August 5th was when Creed was shot and killed at my residence here in town," Sgt. Andrew Bevil, who was Creed's handler at the Panama Police Department, said. "It's been extremely difficult for me and my family."
Investigators believe Creed was targeted because of his service with the police department.
"A lot of people don't understand the bond between a K-9 and the handler," Adams explained. "They think 'oh it's just a dog'. It's not just a dog. It's an officer just like us."
"Simple possession of marijuana, you know if somebody gets caught with a joint," Adams explained. It's the same thing as the law stands now as killing a K-9. That's not justice. It's not even close to justice."
Under the current law, the killing of a K-9 is a misdemeanor charge which means carries jail time up to one year and $1,000 wort of fines.
That's why Adams and Allen are working to have the penalties increased and make this crime a felony.
"You know we spend a lot of time training, working with these animals," Bevil said. "They become part of the family and part of your life. They're not just a dog to us."
We see them as our human partners and the world still just sees them as dogs," Adams said.
This bill will be read for the state senate Tuesday. If approved, the new law would go into effect on Nov. 1. Anyone convicted of killing a police K-9 or horse could face fines of up to $7,500 as well as five years at the Department of Corrections.
A copy of the bill can be seen here: http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/cf_pdf/2013-14%20INT/SB/SB72%20INT.PDF