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Lawmakers debate legislation that would protect service dogs

April 21, 2004
By: Matt Johnson
State Capital Bureau
Links: HB 1093

It's a dog fight at the state Capitol.

Matt Johnson tells us how lawmakers disagree on a measure to make it a crime to injure service dogs used for the disabled.

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The bill's sponsor, Rep. Bill Deeken, sparked interest in the bill after hearing about a woman whose life was saved by a service dog.

He says the bill would not only protect service dogs, but also their owners.

"If something of bodily harm comes to them, that is also the lifeline to that person ... and if somebody kills that dog, that person could be dead in 20 minutes."

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The bill makes it a class A misdemeanor to injure a service dog or to prevent it from saving one's life.

Rep. Barbara Fraser proposed an ammendment to include service cats in the legislation, but it was shot down.

From the state Capitol, I'm Matt Johnson.


Lawmakers heard debate today (Wednesday) on a bill that would make it a crime to injure service dogs for the disabled.

Matt Johnson tells us how the provisions of the bill are up for argument.

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The bill makes it a class A misdemeanor to prevent service dogs from saving the lives of the disabled.

Rep. Jack Goodman says the provision is not rational because dogs are not the same as humans.

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"That's the same penalty as cold blooded murder of a human being and I think that may go too far."

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The bill's sponsor, Rep. Bill Deeken, says the punishment is warranted.

He says it's not only a dog's life at stake, but a human life as well.

From the state Capitol, I'm Matt Johnson.


Service dogs for the disabled would be protected from harm under a proposal in the House.

Matt Johnson reports from the state Capitol.

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The bill makes it a class A misdemeanor to harm dogs that the disabled use for survival.

Rep. Barbara Fraser says she knows people who use other animals for survival and they should be protected too.

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"There is validity in adding animals rather than just dogs, but to the sponsor of the bill, he is very certain that the bill would not pass."

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She offered an amendment to the bill that would include protection for service cats, but it got shot down.

Opponents of the bill say the penalty for injuring the dogs may be too severe.

From the state Capitol, I'm Matt Johnson.