NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Police K-9s play critical roles in manhunts, like the two in Middle Tennessee just this week, helping police track down criminals on the run.
Now, a new law that went into effect Friday is aimed at better protecting police K-9's and other animals.
The new penalty would increase the crime of killing a police dog or other animal from a Class E felony to a Class B felony, meaning a judge could hand down an eight-year prison sentence for it, compared to just one year.
Metro Nashville Police Department officials said they're happy about the new law because officers say their K-9 partners are way more than just a piece of police property.
"The dogs to us are our partners, they are another police officer to us," said Officer Chase Hale. "The bond we have with them, you can't describe it."
The new law also stated older teens who kill or seriously injure a police animal can be tried as adults.