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DeSantis signs bill granting injured police dogs the right to ride in ambulances

Steven Hall, DCNF

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Friday morning permitting emergency workers to transport and treat injured police dogs.

SB 388 would allow emergency medical technicians to provide on-scene care and transportation for police dogs as they would for human law enforcement officers, only if it is not needed for humans.

The bill will take effect July 1, allowing police canines to use ambulances to be taken to veterinary clinics, get care when they get injured, and protect emergency workers who render aid from criminal or civil liability.

DeSantis said this would hopefully save lives and that it was “overdue.”

“The bill reaffirms Florida’s commitment to protecting our law enforcement — including and especially the four-legged members of the force,” DeSantis said at a press conference at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office in St. Augustine.

“When a law enforcement K9 is injured while safeguarding our communities, this bill finally authorizes emergency service vehicles such as ambulances to transport police K9s to a veterinary clinic to ensure they quickly receive the care they need to recover if there is no individual requiring the medical transport at that time,” the governor said.

Police canines usually serve for six to nine years. They are mainly used to help provide officer protection, detect narcotics or explosives, and chase after fleeing criminals, according to The National Police Dog Foundation.

State Republican Sen. Tom Wright, a former volunteer police dog officer, called the bill a “proactive approach” to save the lives of these dogs, according to Florida Politics.

“In recent years we have had multiple K-9s assassinated in our state just because they were wearing a badge,” Wright said in a March committee meeting.

Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody traveled to Daytona Beach in March to garner support for the bill, according to Florida Politics.

“Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line daily to serve their communities and protect our safety — and their four-legged partners risk their lives protecting them,” Moody said.

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