Bill to stiffen penalties for harming, killing K-9s passes SC subcommittee

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ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) –

A bill designed to stiffen penalties against those who harm or kill law enforcement K-9s has advanced to a committee in Columbia.

“Fargo and Hyco’s Law,” named after two K9s killed in the line of duty in South Carolina, passed a subcommittee Thursday. Lawmakers said they hoped it would be passed in both houses of the legislature and on the Governor’s desk by May.

Brandon Surratt, who was Hyco’s handler when the dog was killed during an Anderson County manhunt in 2015, testified at the subcommittee in support of the bill, which essentially doubles or stiffens the penalties for killing a K-9.

“There is not a stiff punishment for killing a K-9,” he said in an interview with FOX Carolina on Thursday.

“Current law is, if you’re convicted of a felony, a judge sentences you to 1 to 5 years, with a fine of $2,000 to $5,000,” said Representative Neal Collins of Pickens, who is the primary sponsor of the legislation to stiffen the penalties.

Collins said the legislation may face some hurdles as it advances through Columbia, partly due to the current discussion of mandatory minimums.

The current law and the bill to stiffen penalties for harming or killing K-9s includes a mandatory minimum sentence.

Surratt supports the law as-is.

“If it wasn’t for God, if it wasn’t for Hyco, I wouldn’t be standing here right now,” said Surratt.

You can donate to the Hyco K9 Fund, which raises money for protective gear for police K9s, HERE.

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