Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-Rockland) today announced legislative passage of their bill (S1993A / A1287A) that will provide police dogs an exemption from confinement in the event they bite a suspect in the course of their official duty. The senator and assemblyman originally introduced the bill back in January, 2012.
Under current New York State law, animals who may have exposed an individual to rabies must be confined for a 10-day confinement and observation period. However, law enforcement agencies throughout the state argue that this inadvertently poses an undue burden by subjecting police dogs to an unfair double standard. These K-9 officers are expected to subdue fleeing suspects, yet at the same time they are punished if they happen to apprehend that same individual. Many K-9 officers are routinely screened and examined for rabies to begin with.
“This is a common sense change that will aid local law enforcement units throughout the state so that they can carry out their official duty without one hand tied behind their back,” said Senator Carlucci. “Our K-9 dogs provide a valuable service to the public at large, especially our officers in the field. I would like to thank my friend Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski for working with me to get this bill passed and off to the Governor’s desk.”
“Police departments increasingly rely on the use of K-9 officers and invest a great deal of resources into their training,” said Assemblyman Zebrowski. “The quarantine mandate, in most cases, is unnecessary and places a burden on police operations especially in police departments that only have one K-9 police dog. This legislation corrects an unreasonable mandate while maintaining a safe community and protecting public health.”
“I would like to commend both Senator Carlucci and Assemblyman ZebrowskI for there assistance in getting this important bill passed,” said Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan. “Thanks to their efforts police K-9s will be allowed to remain on the job and of service to the community, instead of being removed from service for a 10 day period because of a law that should not apply to them in the first place.”
At a press conference last year, both legislators joined with the Clarkstown Police Department to rally for support of this issue. The police department first approached Senator Carlucci about their own incident that prompted calls for a legislative overhaul so that they would not be further burdened in their acting capacity.
The bill now makes its way to the Governor’s desk for further consideration.