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(Hyco's Law)Make penalties stronger against people who harm or kill law enforcement K9's in South Carolina

This petition had 27,652 supporters

On October 21, 2015, a canine officer with the Anderson County Sherriff’s Department was killed in the line of duty. Hyco, a highly trained & decorated canine, was attempting to apprehend a carjacking suspect after a high speed chase. As the suspect engaged in gunfire, Hyco unselfishly and without hesitation did what he had been trained to do; he laid down his life for his handler and other officers on the scene. Hyco chose to be a hero.

Under the current South Carolina law, the suspect could face a 1-5 year sentence with a possible fine of $5,000 for killing Hyco in the line of duty. However, had that same bullet struck and killed his handler, another officer, or an innocent bystander the suspect would be facing charges for murder.

How do you put a price on the life of a hero? Hyco was much more than a dog or a law enforcement “tool”. He was a highly trained officer, a partner, a protector and a brother in blue. Hyco was family, not only to his handler and other officers in Anderson County, but to the family that cared for him and loved him when he was off duty. Hyco’s handler, Cpl. Brandon Surratt, his wife, Brittany, and their children want to make sure that Hyco’s death was not done in vain.

Hyco is not the first canine to be killed, harmed, or abused in the state of South Carolina; however he could be the last to die under the current state law. He could be the change that protects other hardworking, loyal canines serving the communities of our state. We need to establish stiffer penalties against criminals who target or harm police canines in South Carolina.

Other states are already leading the way in inflicting more serious charges against people who harm or intentionally kill police canines. Tanja’s Law passed Georgia’s state senate carrying a sentence of 18 months-5 years and a fine of up to $20,000. It also requires offenders to pay restitution for veterinary bills or the cost of replacing the animal. Under Rocco’s Law, a proposed bill in Pennsylvania, hurting or killing a police canine would be a 2nd degree felony and carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison with a fine of up to $25,000. Laws for harming or killing federal canines or horses carry penalties of 10 years in prison with at least a $1,000 fine.

It is time for South Carolina to have Hyco’s Law. It is time we make a change and protect our canines who are often the first officers on the scene. By protecting his four legged brother’s in blue, we can let Hyco live on and honor the legacy of this hero.

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