Caregivers of retired police dogs will get help paying for the animals’ veterinary costs under a measure signed into law on June 10. Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) retired K-9s remain at home with their handlers, according to HCSO Spokesperson Denise Moloney.
“In Florida, we back the blue, and that includes the K-9s that are often the first to go into a dangerous situation,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis during a signing event in Bunnell. “After dedicating their lives to protecting and serving our communities, it is important that we ensure that these K-9s are cared for by providing the resources necessary for handlers or adopters to afford their veterinary care.”
SB 226 provides reimbursement for up to $1,500 of the annual cost of caring for a retired K-9 including wellness checks, vaccinations, parasite prevention treatments, medications and emergency treatment.
Housed under the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the Care for Retired Police Dogs program will be administered by a non-profit organization dedicated to the care of retired police dogs and has $300,000 in recurring funds.
In order for a dog to qualify for the program, an owner must show valid documentation of the dog’s retirement from law enforcement, and that the animal served for five or more years. Dogs that have served three or more years and retired after being injured in the line of duty are also eligible.
SB 226 goes into effect on July 1.