On Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that would help fund medical and veterinary costs for retired police service dogs or k9s.
Senate Bill 226 or The Care for Retired Dogs act allows for caregivers to be reimbursed for up to $1,500 per year to cover a retired dog’s expenses, says News4Jax. The law will take effect on July 1, 2022.
Watch DeSantis sign the bill next.
“We recognize that our law enforcement community must include recognition for our four-legged friends, and we’re doing that here today,” DeSantis said. “A lot of times only the handler will be able to adopt whenever [a K9] retires because they don’t want to go anywhere else. They want to be around that handler. So now, what we’re saying in Florida is we’re going to step up. We’re going to provide support for these K9s.”
The law will cover police service dogs that served for five years or one that was forced to retire from injuries. Sheriffs attended the event and thanked DeSantis for signing it.
The governor also called the dogs “instrumental” in keeping Floridians safe and said that almost $300,000 had been set aside for the program.
The group Emma Loves K9s will be distributing the cash and was founded by a teenager named Emma Stanford. She founded the non-profit to raise money for police dogs.
“As soon as I learned about the lack of funding for retired police dogs, I wanted Emma Loves K9s to assist their handlers with food and medical expenses. I wanted to help pass the bill in any way I could. The retired dogs have served our community, and I believe they deserve the best possible care,” Stanford said about creating the non-profit.
Sheriffs thanked the governor for helping the families of police dogs and making the financial burden easier on them.
“Each one of these retired dogs, with no serious medical issues, costs about $3,000,” said Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly, “Last year, we implemented supporting our retired canines, but that is the exception, and this bill will correct that and take the burden off the handlers. Not only are they partners for life, but they become family members.”
In 2021, Gov. DeSantis signed another bill, SB 388, helping K9 officers. It allowed for EMTs and ambulances to care for police canines injured in the line of duty.
DeSantis has grown more and more popular for signing bills like this that back up law enforcement officers – even if they have four legs! It’s the reason why people like Elon Musk are throwing their support behind him. Do you think DeSantis is doing a good job as governor? Would he make a comparable president?