Sen. Hwang, Rep. Kupchick Team Up to Protect Police K9s (Patch)

March 1, 2019

Kupchick & Hwang Push for K9 in the Line of Duty Protections

From The Office of State Rep. Brenda Kupchick: State Rep. Brenda Kupchick (R-132) and State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) testified with Fairfield Police Sergeant Hector Irizarry on legislation to permit Police K9’s get the same care as their human partner officers receive when injured in the line of duty.

The legislation, H.B. 6364: An Act Concerning Protections for State and Local Law Enforcement K9S would permit ambulances to transport a law enforcement K9 to an emergency animal hospital when and allow emergency medical service providers to administer an opioid antagonist (NARCAN) intravenously and to provide basic first aid to a law enforcement K9. Additionally, the bill would permit state and local law enforcement K9 officers to carry opioid antagonists that may be administered to a K9.

K9 units in law enforcement are critical to the war on the current opioid crisis and the preservation of life. The ability that dogs have to discover drugs is far greater than that of humans. Unfortunately, the care that is allowed for our working K9s when they are injured or experiencing a drug overdose does not reflect the significant role they play in ending the drug crisis.

According to Sergeant Hector Irizarry, current law prohibits K9 dogs which are injured in the line of duty to be transported in ambulances or allowed to receive care from EMTs.

Rep. Kupchick said, “The result of these restraints is that K9’s have to be taken to a veterinarian in a regular vehicle which prevents the handler from giving care to the dog while on the way. In many cases a K9 can suffer from an opioid overdose on the way or loss of blood. It is possible for the dogs to overdose on drugs if they are trained to dig and bite at the objects of their interest.

“Police dogs (K9) are law enforcement officers, they are absolutely critical to many of the day to day operations that our human law enforcement officers undertake, including every aspect of public safety and community relations in our state. Our Police K9s sacrifice their safety and encounter high risk in the line of duty, just like their handlers, and are also incredibly valuable in terms of the training and skills they possess. They deserve to have access to the same life-saving care that our human officers do to protect their well-being as well as our investment,” said Sen. Hwang.

In five states, K9s are allowed to be transported in ambulances. In two states, EMTs are allowed to provide care to a K9. There is no state which has passed a law which allows both the care of the K9 and the transportation of one in an ambulance to a veterinarian.