Rep. Feenstra introduces K-9 legislation

Feenstra Introduces K-9 Bill

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(ABC 6 News) – The life of a police officer is challenging, and it’s no different for our K-9 cops. Many of our men and women in blue would say K-9s are vital in maintaining law and order in our communities.

But what happens to those K-9’s when they retire? New proposed legislation could help those dogs when their working days are done.

Congressman Randy Feenstra (R) has introduced the Honoring Police Officer and K-9 Service Act to make sure these dogs have a long and healthy retirement.

The average K-9 unit serves for about seven to nine years; when they retire, they often live out the rest of their days with their handler, but as any dog owner knows it’s not cheap having a dog.

“Our four-legged friends, our K-9’s when they retire there’re such a cost of vet bills, especially the last two years of their life, and it’s hard to find the dollars to pay for those costs,” said Feenstra.

According to the police group Paws of Honor, approx. 40-percent of the lifetime vet expenses for dogs, occurs in the last two years of their lives.

The K-9 Service Act would allow $5 million a year in grants dispersed nationwide to retiring K-9s and their handlers to help offset those costs.

“They are doing so much to protect us the least we can do it help them with the vet bills and take care of them after they retire,” said Feenstra.

Cerro Gordo County Sheriff Kevin Pals was a K-9 handler in the 80s and he says a dog becomes a part of the family.

“When I had a dog, raise[d] him right just like he was my pet even though I worked with him. The bond is very tight,” Sheriff Pals.

He is happy about the push to help these dogs because they don’t do normal dog things.

“They’re doing a lot of agility work that most pets family pets don’t go through because they are in and out of cars and SUV’s and things like that. They are in people’s homes climbing around things a lot that normal pet action doesn’t get so they do have a lot more wear and tear on them,” said Sheriff Pals.

Feenstra says these canines work just as hard as our men and women in blue, and that’s why it’s important the federal government approves this legislation.

“This bill is getting so much bipartisan support. I mean everybody loves the idea. Again, you know we back the blue and that includes our K-9 friends,” said Feenstra.

Feenstra says he’s working closely with congress and is confident this will be passed in the next year.