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July 7, 2022

Care For K-9s: Florida Passes New Law for K-9 Officers

Governor Ron DeSantis is once again showing his support for law enforcement in the state of Florida. He just signed into law Senate Bill 226, providing care for retired K-6 Officers. 

SB 226 grants retired law enforcement pooches $1,500 yearly to cover their veterinary bills. Gov. DeSantis had this to say about the “Care for K-9s” law:

“We recognize that our law enforcement community must include recognition for our four-legged friends, and we’re doing that here today,” A lot of times, only the handler will be able to adopt whenever [a K9] retires because they don’t want to go anywhere else. They want to be around that handler. So now, what we’re saying in Florida is we’re going to step up. We’re going to provide support for these K9s.” 

This bill seems to have sprouted to life due to actions taken by a Flagler County teenager. Emma Stanford started her own non-profit named “Emma Loves K-9s” as a means to raise money to help support active and retired law enforcement dogs. The bill sets aside around $300,000, which will be administered by Emma’s non-profit. Emma Stanford stated:

“As soon as I learned about the lack of funding for retired police dogs, I wanted Emma Loves K9s to assist their handlers with food and medical expenses. I wanted to help pass the bill in any way I could. The retired dogs have served our community, and I believe they deserve the best possible care.” 

Dogs that qualify for the after-service care must have served as an active K-9 officer for five years and have proper certifications and validation to prove their service. In addition, dogs that have been injured in the line of duty and have served for at least three years will also gain access to funds from the program. 

This is not the first time Florida has supported our furry brothers and sisters with badges. Last year the state passed a law that allowed K-9s that have sustained injuries on the job to be transported by EMTs. 

What programs exist in your state for retired K-9 Officers? Tell us in the comments below!