BY JIM WALSH For COURIER-POST
Two South Jersey legislators want a mandatory five-year jail term for anyone convicted of killing a police dog.
Their proposal, called “Schultz’s Law,” takes its name from a Gloucester Township K-9 who died in the line of duty last week. A memorial service with full police honors for the dog is to be held Thursday afternoon at a Gloucester Township park.
Authorities allege Schultz was thrown into traffic on Route 42 while the K-9 was trying to subdue a robbery suspect on the night of Nov. 30. A Washington Township man, 20-year-old Skyler Robinson, is charged with the dog’s death.
“Schultz died a hero,” said state Sen. Fred Madden, D-Gloucester, a sponsor of the bill.
“Targeting and killing a police dog should be viewed no less harshly than directly assaulting a police officer,” said Madden, who served 28 years with the New Jersey State Police and is dean of Gloucester County’s Police Academy.
“Dogs that assist law enforcement are valuable allies in the fight against crime,” added Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, D-Gloucester, also a bill sponsor. “Those who abuse them need to face severe punishment.”
Schultz’s Law also would cover dogs killed during search-and-rescue operations. It would prohibit parole during an offender’s five-year minimum term and would impose a $15,000 fine.
Currently, killing a police or search-and-rescue dog carries a penalty of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
The bill, introduced Monday, has been referred to Law and Public Safety Committees in the Senate and Assembly.
Police on Tuesday said Schultz’s service — to be held at 2 p.m. at Gloucester Township Community Park — will include the unveiling of a K-9 memorial sign, as well as a bagpipe performance, a rifle salute and honor guards.
A procession of all Gloucester Township police vehicles will escort Schultz’s cremated remains to the Hickstown Road park. The cortege will depart around 1:40 p.m. from the Chews Landing Veterinary Hospital, 1179 Chews Landing Road.
A large crowd is expected at the public event, and overflow parking will be provided at the former CYO parking lot at Camden County College on Peter Cheeseman Road. Buses will run between the remote parking lot and the park.
Schultz, a 3 1/2-year-old German shepherd, was well-known in Gloucester Township, where he often appeared in police presentations to schools and local groups.
“Hopefully, passage of this law would be a lasting memorial to his service,” Madden said.