Kenton County prosecutor favors tougher penalties for assaulting police dogs with deadly weapons

04/30/2015 11:38 AM

COVINGTON — For the second time in eight months, a police K-9 is recovering from gunshot wounds, and Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders thinks it’s time that harsher penalties are given to suspects who wound police dogs with deadly weapons.

Covington K-9 Ernie was shot by a man in on April 23 who was accused of stabbing his own mother in the head. Police responded to the scene, where the suspect wounded Ernie before fleeing.

Covington police then arrested the suspect, 34-year-old Deleon Rice, and charged him with attempted murder on a police officer, assaulting a police officer, assaulting a police service animal, domestic violence, assault, fleeing and eluding or evading police, felony theft, felony safe cracking and breaking and entering.

Currently, state statues stipulate that the assault of a police K-9 is punishable by one to give years only if the K-9 is killed or cannot return to his duties. If the canine makes a full recovery, the charge is dropped to a misdemeanor.

Sanders would like to see a change in the law that would make it a felony to use a deadly weapon against a police dog, regardless of whether the canine recovers or not.

“I just don’t think the intent should be negated by that the (K-9) officer returned to work,” said Sanders. “The fact that somebody used a deadly weapon and attacked a police K-9 and tried to kill the dog and injured it as well with a gun, that’s just so malicious and so evil, that I think that’s the kind of person that should, at the very least, be facing one to five years in prison.”


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