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Minnesota Senate Votes For Stiffer Dog Abuse Penalties

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ST. PAUL  (AP) — The Minnesota Senate has voted to increase the legal consequences for people who harm or kill police and other public safety dogs.

The Senate passed the bill unanimously on Thursday. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Mark Dayton after the state House passed it last month.

The bill increases potential restitution costs for people who hurt dogs in police actions, search and rescue, correctional facilities or arson investigations. Under the bill, killing or causing great bodily harm to such a dog could prompt a fine up to $5,000 and restitution costs up to $25,000.

Sen. John Harrington, a former St. Paul police chief, says police dogs are like partners to the officers they work with and are trained to put themselves between officers and dangerous situations.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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