Retired K-9 officers will be supported under new Florida law

TAMPA, FL – Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 226, establishing the Care for Retired Police Dogs program.

The program will help caregivers of retired police dogs pay for the dogs’ veterinary bills. The program is hosted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and will be administered by a nonprofit organization dedicated to the care of retired police dogs.

“In Florida, we support blue, and that includes K-9s who are often the first to get into a dangerous situation,” DeSantis said. “Having dedicated their lives to protecting and serving our communities, it’s important that we ensure these K-9s are taken care of by providing the necessary resources for handlers or adopters to pay for their veterinary care.”

“It’s a great piece of legislation,” said state Rep. Sam Killebrew. “It’s the same as an NFL player who plays for eight or nine years and gets beat up and retires. These dogs get beat up after serving and they need medical attention. That money is going to help a lot . »

“Each of these retired dogs, with no serious medical issues, costs about $3,000,” said Sheriff Rick Staly of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office. “Last year we introduced support for our retired dogs, but that is the exception, and this bill will fix that and ease the burden on dog handlers. Not only are they partners for life, but they become part of the family.

“As soon as I learned of the lack of funding for retired police dogs, I wanted Emma Loves K-9 to help their handlers with food and medical bills,” said Emma Stanford, founder of Emma Loves K-9s. “Retired dogs have served us and our communities, and I believe they deserve the best possible care.”

The Retired Police Dog Care Program will reimburse up to $1,500 of annual veterinary costs associated with caring for a retired police dog. This includes annual wellness checks, vaccinations, parasite prevention treatments, medications and emergency animal care. The program has an appropriation of $300,000 in recurring funds.

For a retired service dog to be eligible, an owner must present valid documentation showing that the dog has retired from law enforcement and that the dog has served for five or more years. A dog that has served three or more years and was injured in the line of duty and then retired is also eligible.

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