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Justice

MO Lawmakers advance bill to increase penalties for police dog assaults

HARRISONVILLE, Mo. (AP) - The penalties for injuring or killing law enforcement animals would increase under legislation named after a dog that was stabbed last month.

The Kansas City Star reports that Gov. Eric Greitens met the Cass County Sheriff's Department K-9 named Champ on Wednesday. Champ was stabbed in the neck Dec. 11 while helping Harrisonville police search for a 17-year-old suspected of stealing from a Wal-Mart store. Champ returned to duty Jan. 8.

Greitens said in a news release that police dogs do "incredible work" and that he supports Champ's Law. The legislation won committee approval Tuesday and advanced to the full House.

If an attack kills or incapacitates, the suspect would face at least three and possibly 10 years behind bars. Penalties for less serious police dog attacks also would increase.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com