New York Killing or Injuring a Police Animal

New York State and Federal prosecutors bring charges against individuals for killing or injuring police animals. Federal prosecutors bring these charges under the Federal Law Enforcement Animal Protection Act. New York State Prosecutors use Penal Law Sections 195.06 and 195.06-a to bring charges for assault to canine cops. Prior to 2013, killing or injuring a police work dog or horse was a misdemeanor. However, Governor Cuomo enacted legislation which made this charge a felony. The difference between Penal Law 195.06 and 195.06-a is explained below.

New York Killing or Injuring a Police Animal Charge Explained

The misdemeanor charge of Killing or Injuring a Police Animal is codified in New York Penal Law Section 195.06. To convict someone of this charge, the prosecutor has to prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. First, a person must intentionally kill or injure any animal; AND
  2. Second, the animal must be engaged in performance of its duties and under the supervision or a police officer or a peace officer.

Sentencing and Penalties for New York Killing or Injuring a Police Animal

Under New York Law, the Killing or Injuring a Police Animal is a Class “A” misdemeanor. As such, the following are potential sentences for this charge:

  • Up to 1 year in prison (however a term could be less);
  • Probation (up to 3 years);
  • Conditional Discharge (non-jail sentence, requiring some conditions – such as staying out of trouble, performing community service, or completing a program);
  • Unconditional Discharge (non-jail sentence without any conditions)
  • Time served (even if it’s just the time it took to see the judge from arrest to your arraignment)

Killing a Police Work Dog or a Police Work Horse Charge Explained

Since 2013, New York has made the killing of a police work dog or a police horse a felony. This charge is codified in New York Penal Law Section 195.06-A and is subject to harsher penalties than Penal Law 195.06, which is a misdemeanor.

New York Penal Law 195.06-A has the following elements, that the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Intentional killing of a police work do or a police work house
  2. While such animal is in the performance of its duties and under the supervision of a police officer.

What is a “police work dog” or a “police work horse?”

The legal definition of both terms comes from New York Penal Law 195.06-a. The terms mean:

  1. Any dog or horse,
  2. Owned or harbored by any state or municipal police department or any state or federal law enforcement agency,
  3. Which has been trained to aid law enforcement officers, AND
  4. is actually being used for police work purposes.

Sentencing and Penalties for Killing a Police Work Dog or a Police Work Horse

Under New York Penal Law 195.06-a, the charge of Killing a Police Work Dog or Police Work Horse is a Class “E” Non-violent Felony. As such, this charge is punishable by any of the following sentences:

  • Jail time of up to 1 1/3 – 4 years;
  • Determinate jail term of 1 year or less;
  • Split Sentence (up to 6 months jail, with the rest of the time on probation);
  • Probation up to 5 years;
  • Conditional discharge (no jail time, no probation, not completion of some conditions as part of the sentence – i.e. staying out of trouble, completion of a program, doing some community service).

Contact Top Rated New York City Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you or a loved one have been arrested and charged with Injuring or Killing a Police Animal, a Police Work Dog, or a Police Work Horse, you need top rated New York City Defense Attorneys to handle your case. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.