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Aggravated Cruelty to Law Enforcement Animals

Concerning specifications for the offense of aggravated cruelty to a law enforcement animal.
2024 Regular Session
Crimes, Corrections, & Enforcement
Bill Summary

Under current law, aggravated cruelty to animals is a class 4 felony. The act specifies that a person commits the offense of aggravated cruelty to animals if the person knowingly kills or causes serious bodily injury resulting in death to a law enforcement animal whether the of a law enforcement animal is on duty or not.

The act creates an affirmative defense stating that a person is justified in using physical force upon a law enforcement animal to defend their own person or a third person when the person reasonably believes that a law enforcement animal is an application of unreasonable or excessive force.

The act requires an on-duty peace officer to intervene to prevent or stop another peace officer who is the handler of a law enforcement animal from allowing the law enforcement animal from using the degree of excessive physical force permitted by law while carrying out the peace officer's duties. A peace officer who witnesses the use of excessive force by a law enforcement animal, as permitted by the animal's handler, must report the excessive force to the officer's or handler's supervisor.

The act specifies situations in which a licensed veterinarian or a person who owns or is charged with the care of a law enforcement animal has immunity from liability when it is necessary to euthanize or provide immediate veterinary care to a law enforcement animal.

APPROVED by Governor April 17, 2024

EFFECTIVE April 17, 2024
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)


Became Law


Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details