NJ Gov. Christie signs bill upping penalty for killing a K-9

Killing a K-9 officer in New Jersey now will get you a five-year prison sentence. No parole. And a fine of up to $15k.

Gov. Christie has signed into law legislation increasing the penalities for killing a police dog following the death last year of a police K-9 in Gloucester Township.

"Schultz's Law" was named for a German shepherd police dog killed in the line of duty last year when a suspect he was chasing threw him into traffic.

“Dogs that assist law enforcement are valuable allies in the fight against crime,” said Moriarty (D., Gloucester/Camden). “Schultz was doing nothing more than his job – serving and protecting the public. This law will ensure all K-9 officers have strong protections against those who break society’s rules.”

Killing a police or search and rescue dog previously was a third-degree crime and carried penalties of between three to five years in prison and fines of up to $15,000.

Schultz was well-known throughout Gloucester Township, where he was a fixture at police presentations to schools and local organizations. He lived with his handler, Cpl. Mark Pickard, and his family. He was memorialized with full police honors; the memorial service drew hundreds of residents and K-9 police units from as far away as Virginia.

The bill was signed Tuesday the same day a jury indicted the man accused of killing Schultz, a 3 1/2 year old German shepherd.

More than $70,000 has been raised to construct a memorial honoring Schultz and help support the K-9 unit in the township.