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UPDATE: The "Ape" law

A group of Assembly members are planning to announce tougher penalties for people who kill police animals.

Republicans Andrew Raia, Claudia Tenney and Marc Buter and Democrat Joseph R. Lentol will team up for legislation that would make it a class E felony for killing a service animal or police animal. According to their press release, it's only a misdemeanor right now to kill a police animal, but it's a class E felony to kill a service animal.

This week was the high-profile killing of police dog Ape in Herkimer, where he was shot in the line of duty.

The announcement will include members of the State Trooper K-9 Unit and will be held at 9:30 a.m. in the state's Legislative Office Building.

UPDATE 7:15 p.m.: A staffer for Western New York Republican Sen. George Maziarz highlighted the fact that he already is carrying a bill that would make killing a police animal a class D felony. There is also a companion bill in the Assembly, which is carried by downstate Democrat Ken Zebrowski.

A version of the Maziarz bill has been kicking around since the 1997-1998 sessions. It has passed the full Senate multiple times, although recently it has died in the committee process.

"These animals serve the people of New York State through the use of their keen senses," reads his bill memo's justification. "In addition, State and local police and the emergency services invest a great deal of time and resources in the training of these crime and recovery assistants. The loss or injury of a police animal is not only a loss to the police or emergency services department but also the citizens of New York."

The bill is currently on the floor of the state Senate.

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