Recognizing the heroic actions of K9 Officer Mitchell and all our state’s service dogs and horses, Senator Cathy Young (R,C,I- 57th District) has announced bipartisan support for “Mitchell’s Law,” making it a felony to injure a K-9 officer in the line of duty.
Mitchell is a six-year-old German Shepherd that has been a member of the department since 2011. He was injured during a confrontation with a suspected murderer following a six-hour standoff in November 2016.
On November 10, 2016, Keith Robbins allegedly shot his estranged wife, Sheri Robbins, in the parking lot of the New Creation Assembly of God Church in Jamestown. The incident sparked a citywide manhunt that culminated in a six-hour standoff when Robbins barricaded himself in a home where his father resided. During the apprehension, Mitchell was stabbed in the throat and under his jaw, causing the knife to penetrate his tongue, sustaining life-threatening injuries that required emergency surgery.
Following the attack, Jamestown Police Chief Harry Snellings and Mitchell’s handler, officer Eric Kraft visited Senator Young along with Mitchell to request the law dictating the penalty for perpetrators who injure a K-9 officer in the line of duty be strengthened. Existing law dictates that a suspect can only be charged with a Class E felony for an attack that intentionally kills a police work dog or police work horse. So, despite the severity of Mitchell’s wounds, Robbins could only be charged with a class A misdemeanor, because the stabbing did not result in the animal’s death.
Mitchell’s Law has gained wide support from law enforcement and animal advocacy groups and is expected to see similar support in the state legislature.
Less than a month after being injured, K-9 Officer Mitchell made a full recovery and was back at work with his handler.