VANDERBURGH CO., Ind. (WEHT) — A proposed bill in Indiana would raise the penalty for killing a K9 officer. State representatives say it all stems back to the deadly shooting of a Fishers Police K9 a few years ago.

The bill would raise the crime to a level five felony, punishable by one to six years behind bars. It passed the House and now heads to the Senate. In Vanderburgh County, deputies know the risk K9s face daily.

“The main thing is that they are taking place of the human, so we are sending those police dogs into very high risk situations instead of using ourselves,” says Sgt. Robert Schmitt. “So when they are injured, it is saving us from getting injured.”

Vanderburgh County currently boasts fourteen K9 officers in active duty. There has not been a K9 death since 1998.