EDMONTON — A new federal law that institutes a maximum jail sentence of five years for anyone convicted of intentionally killing a police dog or service animal is now in effect.
On Thursday, Tim Uppal, the federal minister of state for multiculturalism, met with Edmonton police officers to mark the enactment of Quanto's Law.
The law was named for Edmonton police dog Quanto, who was killed in the line of duty nearly two years ago.
Quanto was stabbed in the RCMP headquarters parking lot while he was helping to apprehend a fleeing suspect.
The man who killed Quanto was sentenced to 26 months in prison for a string of criminal offences, including animal cruelty, and was banned from owning a pet for 25 years.
Acting Staff Sgt. Adam Segin says the help that police dogs and service animals in general provide is remarkable and it's nice to see a formal recognition of their value.
"This sends a strong message to anyone that ... to injure or kill a service animal in the line of duty will be met with very serious consequences,'' said Uppal. "They're there to protect us and we should be protecting them.''
While the law was sparked by the death of Quanto, the legislation applies to all service animals used in law enforcement, the military and for individuals with disabilities or specific medical needs.
ALSO ON HUFFPOST: