ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Every dog has its day, and when it comes to police and military dogs, two New York lawmakers say that day should be March 13.
Florida, New Jersey and several other states already recognize March 13 as K-9 Veterans Day as a way to honor the thousands of dogs serving in the military and law enforcement. Republican Sen. Kathy Marchione and Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara say it’s time New York joins the pack.
“Today, police dogs, bomb-sniffing dogs and search-and-rescue dogs are hard at work: loyal, brave, dependable,” Marchione said. “K-9 Veterans Day is about recognizing our heroes for all that they do.”
The specific date of March 13 was picked because it’s the anniversary of the creation of the U.S. Army’s canine corps in 1942.
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The legislation is the latest example of lawmakers’ efforts to address the needs of four-legged New Yorkers. Last year lawmakers voted to permit restaurants to allow dogs on their patios.
Passing the Veterans Day bill would be “a big thing for these K-9s and their handlers,” said Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo, whose department has eight canine officers.
The lawmakers and Zurlo discussed the legislation Friday at a Capitol news conference attended by police dogs and handlers from local departments.
The dogs — CC, Recon, Kyle and Diesel — sat on their haunches as the politicians talked and the cameras clicked, eyeing one another and the humans with the notebooks.
“Any of the dogs want to say something?” Santabarbara asked them at the end of the news conference.
One dog, apparently not into Albany politics, whimpered softly. The others declined to comment.