Georgia Code Title 16. Crimes and Offenses § 16-11-107

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:

(1) “Accelerant detection dog” means a dog trained to detect hydrocarbon substances.

(2) “Bomb detection dog” means a dog trained to locate bombs or explosives by scent.

(2.1) “Dangerous weapon” shall have the same meaning as provided for in Code Section 16-11-121 .

(2.2) “Firearm” means any handgun, rifle, shotgun, stun gun, taser, or dangerous weapon.

(3) “Firearms detection dog” means a dog trained to locate firearms by scent.

(3.1) “Knowingly” means having knowledge that an animal is a law enforcement animal.

(3.2) “Law enforcement animal” means a police dog, police horse, or any other animal trained to support a peace officer, fire department, or the state fire marshal in performance of law enforcement duties.

(4) “Narcotic detection dog” means a dog trained to locate narcotics by scent.

(5) “Narcotics” means any controlled substance as defined in paragraph (4) of Code Section 16-13-21 and shall include marijuana as defined by paragraph (16) of Code Section 16-13-21 .

(6) “Patrol dog” means a dog trained to protect a peace officer and to apprehend or hold without excessive force a person in violation of the criminal statutes of this state.

(6.1) “Performance of its duties” means performing law enforcement, fire department, or state fire marshal duties as trained.

(7) “Police dog” means a bomb detection dog, a firearms detection dog, a narcotic detection dog, a patrol dog, an accelerant detection dog, or a tracking dog used by a law enforcement agency.  Such term also means a search and rescue dog.

(8) “Police horse” means a horse trained to transport, carry, or be ridden by a law enforcement officer and used by a law enforcement agency.

(8.1) “Search and rescue dog” means any dog that is owned or the services of which are employed by a fire department or the state fire marshal for the principal purpose of aiding in the detection of missing persons, including but not limited to persons who are lost, who are trapped under debris as a result of a natural or manmade disaster, or who are drowning victims.

(9) “Tracking dog” means a dog trained to track and find a missing person, escaped inmate, or fleeing felon.

(b) A person commits the offense of harming a law enforcement animal in the fourth degree when he or she knowingly and intentionally causes physical harm to such law enforcement animal while such law enforcement animal is in performance of its duties or because of such law enforcement animal's performance of its duties.  Any person convicted of a violation of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment not to exceed 12 months, a fine not to exceed $5,000.00, or both.

(c) A person commits the offense of harming a law enforcement animal in the third degree when he or she knowingly and intentionally and with a deadly weapon causes, or with any object, device, instrument, or body part which, when used offensively against such law enforcement animal, is likely to or actually does cause, serious physical injury to such law enforcement animal while such law enforcement animal is in performance of its duties or because of such law enforcement animal's performance of its duties.  Any person convicted of a violation of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than six nor more than 12 months, a fine not to exceed $5,000.00, or both.

(d) A person commits the offense of harming a law enforcement animal in the second degree when he or she knowingly and intentionally shoots a law enforcement animal with a firearm or causes debilitating physical injury to a law enforcement animal while such law enforcement animal is in performance of its duties or because of such law enforcement animal's performance of its duties.  Any person convicted of a violation of this subsection shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years, a fine not to exceed $25,000.00, or both.

(e) A person commits the offense of harming a law enforcement animal in the first degree when he or she knowingly and intentionally causes the death of a law enforcement animal while such law enforcement animal is in performance of its duties or because of such law enforcement animal's performance of its duties.  Any person convicted of a violation of this subsection shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than 18 months nor more than five years, a fine not to exceed $50,000.00, or both.

(f) In addition to any other penalty provided for under this Code section, any person convicted of a violation under this Code section shall pay restitution to the law enforcement agency, fire department, or the state fire marshal which is the owner of, or which owned, such law enforcement animal in the amount of associated veterinary expenses incurred in the treatment of such law enforcement animal pursuant to Article 1 of Chapter 14 of Title 17;  provided, however, that if such law enforcement animal died or is no longer able to engage in performance of its duties as a result of a violation of this Code section, the amount paid in restitution shall additionally include the amount of the actual replacement value of the law enforcement animal, which shall include the value of an animal to replace the law enforcement animal and all costs associated with training such animal and its handler or handlers.

(g) Nothing in this Code section shall prohibit the killing or euthanasia of a law enforcement animal for humane purposes.

(h) Nothing in this Code section shall prohibit the defense of a person against a law enforcement animal that attacks such person without or in spite of commands given by its handler.

(i) The Division of Forensic Sciences of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation shall perform forensic pathology services upon any law enforcement animal whose death occurred while in performance of its duties or because of such law enforcement animal's performance of its duties.


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