@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Bill would make it easier for retired K-9s, police horses to stay with handlers

Posted May 16

— Lawmakers gave initial approval Monday night to a proposal that would make it easier for retiring law enforcement service animals to go home with their officers for good.

House Bill 1009 would allow Apex, Cary, Garner, Knightdale, Wake Forest and Zebulon to set up their own process for placing the K-9s and police horses when they are no longer on active duty with local police departments.

Under current law, the animals are considered state property, similar to computers or cars. When they're retired, they become surplus property. Rep. Gale Adcock, D-Wake, said state law doesn't offer local governments many ways to dispose of surplus property without selling it or auctioning it.

"They don’t give us the authority to treat service animals any differently than we do excess inventory like laptops," Adcock told WRAL News. "We’re talking living, breathing, loving animals here."

The bill would give the six towns the authority to give the animals to the officers or employees they've worked with every day, or to that officer's family. The towns also would have the option to place the retiring horse or dog with a rescue group that gives homes to retired service animals.

A similar bill passed into law last year gave Raleigh and towns in Mecklenburg County that authority.

The House is scheduled to take a final vote on the bill Tuesday. After that, it goes to the Senate.

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