Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed a bill that will allow emergency medical technicians and paramedics to treat and transport law enforcement canines injured in the line of duty.
“The bill reaffirms Florida’s commitment to protecting our law enforcement, including and especially the four-legged members of the force,” DeSantis said during a bill-signing ceremony at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
The new law (SB 388), in part, will exempt paramedics and emergency medical technicians from veterinary practices as regulated by the Board of Veterinary Medicine.
The law, which will take effect July 1, also will allow emergency vehicles to transport police canines injured in the line of duty to veterinary clinics, hospital emergency departments or similar facilities if people do not need medical attention or transportation at the same time.
In 2019, DeSantis signed a bill that made it a second-degree felony, up from a third-degree felony, for people who kill or cause great bodily harm to police, fire or search-and-rescue dogs or police horses.
Backers of the 2019 bill pushed for the change in part as a reaction to the 2018 death of Fang, a 3-year-old member of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office canine unit shot by a teenager fleeing after carjacking two women, and the on-duty death of a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office police dog named Cigo.