Law Enforcement Animal Law

There are criminal laws protecting law enforcement animals. This post provides an overview of the law and potential punishments for violations related to law enforcement animals.

Illegal Acts under this Law

A person shall not cause serious physical harm or intentionally kill a police horse, police dog, or a search and rescue dog.

Doing so could be charged as a felony, punishable by;

  • 5 years imprisonment,
  • $10,000.00 fine, or
  • Both

A person shall not intentionally cause physical harm to a police horse, police dog, or a search and rescue dog.

A person shall not intentionally harass or interfere with a police horse, police dog, or a search and rescue dog.

Doing either of the above two acts could be charged as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to;

  • 1 year imprisonment,
  • $5,000.00 fine, or
  • Both

Doing either of the above two acts while committing a separate crime at the same time is a felony, punishable by up to;

  • 2 years imprisonment,
  • $15,000.00 fine, or
  • Both

A person could still be charged with any other crime alleged committed at the same time as any of the above criminal acts.

*Scroll to the bottom of this article to read the list of definitions for terms within the law*

Read our articles about Animal Cruelty and Animal Neglect and Abuse for information on related laws.

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Call Sam Bernstein at 734-883-9584 or e-mail at

Sam Bernstein is a criminal defense lawyer in Ann Arbor.

ArborYpsi Law is located at 2750 Carpenter Rd #2, Ann Arbor, MI 48108

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*Definitions of the Law Enforcement Animal Law

Each law contains definitions of the terms within the law. Here are the definitions of the terms for this specific law:

  1. Dog handler – A peace officer who successfully completed training in the handling of a police dog according to the policy of a law enforcement agency that employs the peace officer.
  2. Physical harm – Any injury to a dog’s or horse’s physical condition.
  3. Police dog – A dog used by a law enforcement agency that is trained for law enforcement purposes and who is handled by a dog handler.
  4. Police horse – A horse used by a law enforcement agency for law enforcement work.
  5. Search and rescue dog – A dog that is trained for, or is being trained for, or engaged in a search rescue operation.
  6. Serious physical harm – Any injury to a dog’s or horse’s physical condition or welfare that is not necessarily permanent but constitutes a substantial body disfigurement, or seriously impairs the function of a body organ or limb.
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