State Rep. Mike Hoadley recently introduced legislation to care for police canines after they have dutifully served their communities.
House Bill 5079 provides for emergency medical transport and treatment for retired police canines. Currently, state law allows for ambulances to provide emergency transport to a veterinary clinic or similar facility for working police dogs that are injured in the line of duty. Hoadley’s bill would extend this service to retired police dogs who have long provided a service to their communities and fellow officers, if they require emergency treatment and there are no individuals who require emergency assistance at the time.
“Police canines are critical parts of first responder teams that keep our neighborhoods and families safe, and they help keep fellow officers safe with the patrol and security tasks they perform,” said Hoadley, of Au Gres. “They also help re-unite families and loved ones through search-and-rescue operations. We owe our gratitude to the work these companions accomplish, and that gratitude should extend beyond their time with law enforcement just as it does for their human counterparts.”
The bill is being referred to as “Canjo’s Law” in honor of a police canine who was unable to receive prompt and crucial care during critical points. K9 Canjo worked for the Saginaw Police Department as a dual-purpose narcotics dog from Dec. 2011 until his retirement in Feb. 2019. Canjo had back surgery in June of 2021 for an injury related to his years of work and fell ill just a few weeks later due to complications from sepsis. Unfortunately, Canjo could not be seen immediately by local veterinarians and animal care experts and was eventually admitted to the intensive care unit at Michigan State University’s veterinary center in East Lansing. It was one of three separate times Canjo had to be transported in critical condition, including the day of his passing on Sept. 9, 2022 – which marked his End of Watch.
“I take issue with what happened with Canjo because no one would want to wait 18 hours for a K9 to get on-scene in an emergency situation, but that’s how long Canjo had to wait for emergency care,” Hoadley said. “His situation was critical, but he wasn’t allowed to be transported in an ambulance – despite his handlers being willing to pay for it if it was allowed – due to how our laws are written. We should update our laws so this doesn’t continue to happen in the future with first responders who have served us.”
The plan was referred to the House Committee on Insurance and Financial Services.
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