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Rauner signs bill allowing officers to adopt police dogs

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Vico. (Jefferson County Sheriff's Office)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation that gives retiring police dogs the chance to be adopted by their handlers.

With the new law, retiring dogs will first be offered to an officer for adoption or be given to a no-kill shelter. Currently, it is up to the village manager, mayor or police chief to determine how retired police dogs are handled.

Rauner signed the legislation Saturday at the Illinois State Fair during First Responders Day. The governor called police dogs “crucial to how our first responders do their jobs.”

Illinois State Police Director Leo Schmitz and officers with their police dogs joined the governor at the ceremony. Schmitz says the new law “provides both the handler and the canine the ability to remain together following their service.”