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K-9’s death sparks legislative work

Updated: Jan. 14, 2021 at 8:06 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - In the Arkansas House of Representatives, a bill has been filed called “Gabo’s Law” created after the death of Jonesboro Police Department’s K-9, Gabo.

In 2018, the K-9 was shot five times at point-blank range. He survived the event and returned to work. In 2020, Gabo died due to an illness linked to his injuries.

Since his death, Arkansas State Representatives Jimmy Gazaway, Jack Ladyman, and State Senator David Wallace wrote the bill to possibly be passed in this year’s legislative session.

It will allow ambulance transport and treatment in-route to a veterinary clinic if they are injured in the line of duty.

“Our biggest concern is when they’re on the streets day in and day out and if they’re deployed, injured, shot, stabbed … that we can get them a level of medical care that will sustain them until we can get them to the facility,” Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott explained.

He mentioned the bill is great and would give K-9′s a better level of care after an injury.

“[Gabo] had several areas of bleeding that we weren’t able to apply direct pressure to, to control the bleeding. We just had to load and go,” he said.

JPD currently has six K-9′s who work day-in and day-out with their handlers.

“You have a pet/partner that may save your life one day or the life of another,” he said.

Each K-9 is an investment. The initial purchase of the animal is close to $8,000-$11,000.

Training, special equipment such as a vehicle insert, bailout equipment, and more add up.

Rep. Ladyman agrees they need more immediate help in the line of duty. It’s why he helped create the bill.

“[We] talked about what could be done to give better care to our police dogs, which are very important. They’re very valuable and again, they’re part of the family,” he said.

Ladyman expects no opposition toward the bill.

“I call it a feel-good bill. I don’t know why anyone would oppose a bill like this. Everybody’s interested in this. They like to see these things happen,” he said.

The bill will be on the agenda soon, and if there is no opposition, it could be law in a matter of weeks.

To read the entire Bill, click here.

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