Animal Law Review

First Page



Since 1978, forty states and one United States territory have passed laws to protect police dogs. Despite the numerous peculiarities contained in these laws, as well as the legal issues raised by them, none of the laws have been reviewed in academic literature. Although the courts have had little occasion to analyze the vast breadth of issues surrounding the police dog laws, there is much to be said about the components of the various statutes. This article examines the statutory requirements and prescribed penalties relating to police dog statutes and opens debate on the prudence and value of such laws. Whether the textual aspects of the police dog laws are worthy of praise or critique, or both, legal standards only address part of the story. The practical issues of police dog deployment must also be considered. In the final analysis, law enforcement agencies are vested with the discretion to direct deployment policy; hence, only they can truly protect the dogs from harm.



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