Nashville: Seeking a New Law That Protects Search and Rescue Animals
Nashville is looking to pass a new bill called “Aron’s Law” that sets a felony penalty for killing a police, fire or search-and- rescue animal on purpose. The bill is inspired by an event that took place almost 2 decades ago that involved Metro K-9 officer Terry Burnett and his late K-9 companion, Aron.
The officer recalls the day he last saw his partner. He said that he shouted at Aron repeatedly to back off as he dodged a bullet fired from a bank robber’s gun. Unfortunately, this did not register in the dog’s head as its relentlessness and training to run towards gun blasts led to its death.
Fast-forward to today, another officer named Burnett who has been in service for 29 years praised the dog as he claims Aron’s sacrifice saved not only his, but other officers’ lives. He said that because of Aron, the robber got distracted long enough for them to find cover. He added that although the bill is named after the dog that blissfully gave his life to protect others, it is for every dog that was killed in the heat of a police operation.
One of the persons that recommended the institution of the legislation is Franklin K-9 Officer Brett Spivy. He described how police dogs are different from any house pets as they go through a rigorous training and forge unbreakable bonds with their handlers. He also said that such dogs exemplifies valor that is equal to any police officers willing to risk their lives.
As he also works with a German Shepard named Axel, Spiyy was quick to utter, “He is my partner. Period. In law enforcement, where having a partner that you know has your back and a partner who will lay down his or her life for you without any question whatsoever, is paramount.” He also said, “These dogs are trained to do just that.”
His interest in coming up with punishments for harming service animals is ignited by an incident that took place during the previous year where a police dog in Oklahoma is killed. After that, he decided that enough is enough and sought the help of his state representative, Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin, to increase the penalty for committing such actions. He explained that noncompliance of the proposed Aron’s law will merit a criminal offense and will be considered as an act of theft. He hopes that by increasing the penalty, offenders will think twice before harming his partner.