Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly Vetoes Minimum Terms That Would Have Been Required for Hurting Police Dogs

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly Vetoes Minimum Terms That Would Have Been Required for Hurting Police Dogs

The highest sentence for hurting police dogs and horses would have gone up from one year to more than four years, but Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed the bill.

The bill was made after a man from Wichita killed a service dog from the Sedgewick Sheriff’s Office that chased him into a storm drain. The dog’s handler and police groups across the state backed the bill, saying the highest fine of $5,000 and one year in jail were too low.

Kelly said in her veto message that she didn’t agree with the bill for three reasons.

  • Instead of letting judges decide, it sets basic standards that must be met.
  • It doesn’t match up with how people are punished for worse acts.
  • Part of the bill that said people on probation had to take a training in anger management isn’t used for other crimes.
  • Kelly did, however, praise the ideas behind the bill.

“The death of any police animal is a tragedy.” “There’s no doubt that we should hold those responsible for what they did,” she said. “The goal of this bill is good, but it needs to be looked at and studied more thoroughly.”

The veto was seen as silly by House Speaker Dan Hawkins, R-Wichita, who called it a “slap in the face of all law enforcement.”

“It is an insult to both police animals and the officers who take care of them that the penalties for hurting one are less severe than those for other animal cruelty,” Hawkins said.

You can get a month to a year in jail and a $500 to $5,000 fine in Kansas if you kill, hurt, maim, torture, or poison an animal on purpose. The penalties are similar to those for killing a police animal. Kelly said that psychological evaluations and anger management classes aren’t used for other very bad crimes, but they are for malicious animal cruelty, which needs an evaluation to help the court decide the terms of probation.

People who leave or don’t properly care for an animal must be convicted of animal cruelty twice before they can get a fine of up to $2,500 and five days to a year in jail.

Hawkins promised to try to override the veto. The bill got 115 votes in favor and only six votes against in the House. That’s where it will have more trouble. In the Senate, it only got two votes to overturn a veto.

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