Killing a police animal will be a felony crime under new state law

Ape, an FBI tactical K-9 killed in the line of duty

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Wednesday that will make the killing of a police animal a felony crime.

State senators introduced the bill shortly after an

FBI dog, Ape, was killed by a gunman

in the Mohawk Valley.

The soon to be law (S1079A) makes the killing of a police dog or a police horse while it is performing its duties a class E felony. It is currently a Class A misdemeanor. The new law takes effect on November 1.

"Police animals go where others will not in order to keep law enforcement officials and all New Yorkers safe from harm and itâ??s a tragedy when one is killed," Governor Cuomo said. "This new law will hold the guilty parties accountable and offer better protections for these highly trained animals who are important members of our law enforcement community."

The governor says law enforcement agencies increasingly rely on specially-trained animals, which are often put in harm's way. He says the new law will hold responsible individuals who kill these animals.

The governor says the killing of a police animal is both a tragic event and a serious loss to law enforcement in their work to residents safe. Training the animals takes a great deal of time and resources.

Additionally, Cuomo signed legislation (S1993A) that will allow police departments to waive the current requirement of confining a police dog for 10 days after biting an individual in the course of official duties. The dog will be able to return immediately to duty based on a health department waiver and the dog's up-to-date rabies vaccinations. The requirement was to protect against any possible rabies exposure. This law takes effect immediately.

Ape, a 2-year-old FBI K-9, was shot during a police standoff in Herkimer in March. He was on duty accompanying FBI agents who were attempting to arrest 64-year-old Kurt R. Myers, of Mohawk, who had been

holed up in an abandoned

building on North Main Street in Herkimer after a rampage that left four dead and two injured. Ape was wearing a ballistic vest at the time.