"Unfortunately, a K-9 doesnt have a way to protect themselves like a human officer does," said Corporal William Henderson, Berkeley County Sheriffs Department.
Officials arrested a man for hitting Corporal Hendersons dog, "Bear," with a flashlight. In the Mountain State, anyone who attacks a K-9 can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the animals injuries.
"The actual sentencing for a misdemeanor for injuring a police K-9 or any police animal is six months. The felony charge of is one or three years," said Henderson.
In other states such as Maryland and Pennsylvania, authorities have their own laws.
In Maryland, it is also a misdemeanor or a felony that could lead to a maximum of three years in jail, but in Pennsylvania, if anyone kicks, beats or strike a police dog, he or she could be charged with a felony.
"Our dogs are whats called bark and hold. They basically bite you once and they hold on until they are called off by the handler or physically removed by the handler," said Henderson.
Although each state has its own law, residents have their own opinions, too.
"I think it should be a felony if someone hurts a dog and not a misdemeanor, especially if a police dog is doing its job," said Steve Ellis, West Virginia resident.
"If its a police K-9, its more or less the same as attacking a police officer because they are apart of the police department," said Heather Bittner, Maryland resident.
"You probably get the same seven years if you hit a the police man, so if you hit the police dog, its the same thing," said Marcy Kauffman, Pennsylvania resident.
Although Bear wasnt severely attacked, Corporal Henderson said its still considered an injury in the line of duty.
Bear just celebrated his fourth birthday on Tuesday. Bear is the same dog that caught the accused killer of 14-year-old Miana Stewart.
Reported by Sharia Davis"
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