Death of Gloucester Twp. Police Dog Leads to Call for Mandatory Five-Year-Term
Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Paul Moriarty, Ruben Ramos, Jr and Charles Mainor that would impose a mandatory five-year jail term on anyone convicted of killing a police dog was approved 63-3-7 Monday by the Assembly, giving it final legislative approval.
Moriarty introduced the bill in December, along with Senator Fred Madden, after Schultz, an on-duty Gloucester Township police dog, was killed by a robbery suspect.
“Schultz was more than a dog to his community,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester). “He was a friend, protector and an asset to all law-abiding citizens. This law will ensure he and his fellow K-9 officers have strong protections against those who break society’s rules.”
Under the bill (S-2541/A-3602) – named “Schultz’s Law”- criminals found guilty of killing a police dog or a dog engaged in a search and rescue operation would receive a mandatory minimum five-year prison term, with no eligibility for parole, and a $15,000 fine.
Killing a police or search and rescue dog currently is a third-degree crime and carries penalties of between three to five years in prison and fines of up to $15,000.
Schultz, a 3 1/2 year-old German shepherd and member of Gloucester’s police force was part of a 100-officer manhunt for a robbery suspect. After tracking down the suspect, Schultz latched onto the man’s arm. According to police, the suspect then purposely flung the dog into oncoming traffic on Route 42 in an attempt to escape his grip, where Schultz was hit by a passing car and died shortly after.
“Dogs that assist law enforcement are loyal allies in the fight against crime,” said Ramos (D-Hudson). “This dog, like many others, was simply doing his job serving and protecting the public. They deserve legitimate protection against abuse, and those who abuse them need to face severe punishment.”
“Canines involved in law enforcement risk their life, much like police officers, to do the job they were trained to do,” said Mainor (D-Hudson). “Killing a police dog should be viewed in much the same way as directly assaulting a police officer.”
Moriarty noted that Schultz was well-known throughout Gloucester Township, where he was a fixture at police presentations to schools and local organizations. He lived with his handler, Cpl. Mark Pickard, and his family.
The bill now goes to the governor.