ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp signed a law this week that will create increased penalties for anyone who knowingly harms a K-9 officer or other public safety animal, such as a search and rescue dog.
Known as "Figo's Law," SB 155 was named for the Georgia State Patrol K-9 officer, Figo, who was killed last October when a homicide suspect shot the dog during a traffic stop.
The law now creates a new felony offense of aggravated harming of a public safety animal or search and rescue animal. The new penalties include a minimum two-year prison sentence and a max prison sentence of 10 years.
Previously, the highest penalty for specifically harming public safety animals under Georgia law was first degree harming of a law enforcement animal, which carried a minimum of 18 months in prison and a max of five years.
A $50,000 max fine under the old law remains in place with the new law, as well.
The law also creates a second aggravated misdemeanor tier of harming a public safety animal punishable by a minimum six months to 12 months in prison and a $5,000 fine; and a third misdemeanor tier of interfering with a public safety animal punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to 12 months in prison (with no minimum sentence).
Gov. Kemp's wife, the first lady Marty Kemp, said on Twitter that she was "thankful that Brian signed 'Figo's Law' yesterday which keeps our law enforcement and search and rescue animals safe by increasing penalties for those who harm them."