Measure to make injuring police dogs a felony

by Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio

January 27, 2011

St. Paul, Minn. — A state House panel has unanimously approved a measure to make it a felony to substantially injure a police dog.

The bill, authored by Republican Rep. Tony Cornish, was in response to the near-fatal stabbing of a Roseville police dog during a search in Maplewood in November.

Patrolman John Jorgensen, along with the dog, Major, at his side, testified before the House Public Safety and Crime Prevention committee. Major can no longer stand on his own and will be officially retired from service next month.

"He was effectively killed as a police dog," Jorgensen told lawmakers.

Police experts told lawmakers that police dogs typically cost more than $7,000 to acquire and months of staff time to train. Lawmakers added a provision that would charge people convicted of leaving a dog disabled or unable to work up to $25,000.

The measure is headed next for the Judiciary committee.

Roseville police officer John Jorgensen's dog, Major, can't stand by himself anymore after being stabbed by a burglary suspect in Maplewood in November. Jorgenson testified in favor of a bill that would make it a felony to substantially harm a law enforcement dog in St. Paul on Jan. 27, 2011. (MPR Photo/Tim Nelson)