COLUMBIA, S.C. —The South Carolina Senate passed a bill Thursday aimed at protecting police dogs and horses. It’s called “Hyco’s Law.” Hyco was an Anderson County K-9 officer that was killed in the line of duty in October 2015.
Now-Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant introduced the bill when he was still a state senator representing Anderson. He says Hyco’s death brought attention to the low penalties for killing a police animal.
“Police dogs actually have a badge,” he says. “They are not a piece of equipment, they’re a partner, and they’re very valuable. So we felt it was necessary to increase the penalties.”
The current maximum penalty is up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000. Under Hyco’s Law, the maximum penalty would be ten years in prison, a fine up to $10,000, or both.
Anyone convicted would also have to pay to replace the dog or horse, including paying the expense of training it. Someone convicted of breaking this law might also have to do up to 500 hours of community service for an animal-related organization.
The bill also prohibits teasing, maltreating, or injuring police dogs and horses.
The bill now goes to the South Carolina House.