Two very important police officers went missing last night. Bruno and Luke, Louisiana State Police K-9 Troopers disappeared for a while. Fortunately, within two hours of the report of their disappearance, both troopers were found at local animal shelters.

A brief release from the department received by KEEL News at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night stated simply the K-9 Troopers “…are missing from the Bent Tree area in Marrero, LA. Anyone with information on (their) whereabouts…should immediately contact Louisiana State Police Troop B.”

This momentary disappearance gave cause for reflection. Generally, police officers of any species don’t “go missing.” General knowledge about K-9 police officer training seems to indicate that they and their human partners can be considered to be in almost a symbiotic relationship.

Additionally, from general knowledge of the process of police dog training, it seems a human other than the K-9’s partner would place themselves at great peril to even approach a K-9 law officer.

The website Louisiana Animal Laws deals with several issues regarding the ownership, treatment, protection and abuse/use of not only dogs, but horses and even bears. While this site makes no specific mention of a law concerning anyone who might lure away or kidnap (dognap?) a police dog, the law does say: “D. (1) Whoever commits the crime of injuring or killing of a police animal shall be fined not less than two thousand five hundred dollars nor more than three thousand five hundred dollars, or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not less than one year nor more than three years, or both.”

In Louisiana, three categories of kidnapping exist: aggravated, second degree and simple. If convicted and depending on the category, a perpetrator faces a minimum of five years and up to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.00.

A conviction of murder penalty is a bit more complicated but Louisiana law does allow a death sentence. General knowledge that most human police officer murders net a death penalty -- and even kidnapping a HUMAN police officer would draw at least the same penalty as noted -- it might be inferred that similar penalties could exist in the event of a conviction concerning a duly sworn K-9 officer.

Bruno and Luke are highly valuable and valued members of our State Police Force. Certainly, further investigation will be conducted into their brief disappearance Tuesday night. It is a relief to know they are safe, unharmed and back on the job.

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