February 02, 2023, Introduced by Reps. Paiz, Tsernoglou, Hope, Steckloff, Dievendorf, Wilson, Hill, Miller, Brabec, Thompson, McFall, Fitzgerald, Brenda Carter, Hood and Morgan and referred to the Committee on Criminal Justice.

A bill to create the care for retired police dogs program act; and to provide for the powers and duties of certain state and local governmental officers and entities.

the people of the state of michigan enact:

Sec. 1. This act may be cited as the "care for retired police dogs program act".

Sec. 3. The legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) Police dogs are an integral part of many law enforcement and correctional efforts statewide, including the apprehension of suspects through tracking and searching, evidence location, drug and bomb detection, and search and rescue operations.

(b) Law enforcement and correctional agencies agree that the use of police dogs is an extremely cost-effective means of crime control and that police dogs possess skills and abilities that frequently exceed those of existing technology.

(c) The service of police dogs is often dangerous and can expose them to injury at a rate higher than that of nonservice dogs.

(d) Police dogs provide significant contributions to the residents of this state.

Sec. 5. As used in this act:

(a) "Correctional agency" means a lawfully established state or local public agency having primary responsibility for the supervision, protection, care, custody, control, or investigation of inmates at a correctional facility.

(b) "Department" means the department of state police.

(c) "Law enforcement agency" means an entity that is established and maintained in accordance with the laws of this state and is authorized by the laws of this state to appoint or employ law enforcement officers.

(d) "Program" means the care for retired police dogs program created under section 7.

(e) "Retired police dog" means a dog that was previously in the service of or employed by a law enforcement agency or correctional agency in this state for the sole purpose of aiding in the detection of criminal activity, enforcement of laws, or apprehension of offenders and that received certification in obedience and apprehension work from a certifying organization, such as the National Police Canine Association, or other certifying organization.

(f) "Veterinarian" means a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine under article 15 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.16101 to 333.18838, or under a state or federal law applicable to that person.

(g) "Veterinary care" means services provided by a veterinarian or a specialist referred by a veterinarian. Veterinary care includes, but is not limited to, annual wellness examinations, vaccinations, internal and external parasite prevention treatments, testing and treatment of illnesses and diseases, medications, emergency care and surgeries, veterinary oncology, or other specialty care, euthanasia, and cremation.

Sec. 7. (1) The department shall, subject to appropriation, create, implement, and administer the care for retired police dogs program for the purposes of awarding grants to eligible nonprofit organizations for the veterinary care of retired police dogs.

(2) The department shall select eligible nonprofit organizations through a competitive grant award process. A funding application for the grant program must be made on a form approved by the department and must contain the information required by the department.

(3) To be eligible for a grant under the program, an eligible nonprofit organization shall meet all of the following criteria:

(a) Be dedicated to the protection or care of retired police dogs.

(b) Be exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the internal revenue code, 26 USC 501(c)(3).

(c) Have maintained tax-exempt status under subdivision (b) for at least 5 years.

(d) Agree to be subject to review and audit at the discretion of the auditor general in order to ensure accurate accounting and disbursement of grant funds.

(e) Demonstrate the ability to effectively and efficiently disseminate information and to assist former handlers and adopters of retired police dogs in complying with this act.

(4) An eligible nonprofit organization that is awarded a grant under the program shall disburse the grant funds to a former handler or adopter of a retired police dog upon receipt of all of the following:

(a) Valid documentation from the law enforcement agency or correctional agency from which the dog retired that verifies that the dog was in the service of or employed by that agency, and that any of the following applies:

(i) That the dog served 5 years or more with that agency.

(ii) That the dog served a total of 5 years or more with 2 or more law enforcement agencies or correctional agencies.

(iii) Notwithstanding the length of service requirements in this act, that the dog served 3 years or more with 1 or more law enforcement agencies or correctional agencies, was injured in the line of duty while serving with a law enforcement agency or correctional agency, and retired from the agency the dog was serving with at the time of the injury due to the injury.

(b) A valid invoice from a veterinarian for veterinary care provided in this state to a retired police dog and documentation establishing payment of the invoice by the former handler or the adopter of the retired police dog.

Sec. 9. (1) Annual disbursements of grant funds to a former handler or an adopter to reimburse him or her for a retired police dog's veterinary care may not exceed $1,500.00 per dog. A former handler or an adopter of a retired police dog may not accumulate unused funds from a current year for use in a future year.

(2) A former handler or an adopter of a retired police dog who seeks reimbursement for veterinary care may not receive reimbursements if funds appropriated under the program are depleted in the year for which the reimbursement is sought.

Sec. 11. The department may promulgate rules necessary to implement this act under the administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to 24.328.