A new law will increase the penalty for injuring public safety dogs and impose mandatory restitution on offenders who harm these animals. It also extends the gross misdemeanor offense of harming a public safety dog to cases where the dog suffers demonstrable bodily harm. Further, the law creates a new offense whereby it is a misdemeanor to assault a public safety dog where the animal does not suffer “demonstrable bodily harm.”

Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Good Thunder), who sponsors the law with Sen. Dan Hall (R-Burnsville), said the impetus for the law was Major, a German Shepherd stabbed Nov. 12, 2010, as Roseville police assisted Maplewood officers responding to a break-in.

After finding a suspect, officers heard Major crying in pain. He had been stabbed four times. He was rushed to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center for emergency surgery. While Major survived, he did not regain use of his back legs.