INDIANAPOLIS | A criminal who injures or kills a police dog acting in the line of duty would be required to pay restitution to the dog's owner for its full value under legislation approved 97-0 by the Indiana House Tuesday.
House Bill 1093, which now goes to the Senate, changes an existing state law that lets a judge decide whether to order restitution, and instead requires the person responsible for maiming or killing a police dog to repay its cost.
"We would like for these people who are responsible to pay for that so that we don't have to cover those costs," said state Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh, D-Crown Point, sponsor of the legislation.
VanDenburgh said a police dog can cost a police department more than $12,000.
The co-sponsor of the proposal, state Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, a former Hammond police captain, said police dogs are true partners to police officers in every way and deserve the extra protection.
"They save the lives of our officers that are fighting for us every single day," Lawson said.