"Tanja's Law" passes Georgia Senate, headed to House - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

"Tanja's Law" passes Georgia Senate, headed to House

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WALKER COUNTY, GA (WRCB) - It's been nine months since Walker County lost one of its own.

“The K-9 police dog becomes an extension of the police officer,” Sheriff Steve Wilson said.

Tanja, 2, had only been on the job for eight weeks when she was shot and killed while deputies were trying to arrest Steven Lee Waldemer on felony warrants. Tanya's handler, Deputy Donnie Brown, sustained injuries himself in the shooting.

“I'm very thankful that I didn't have to bury him that day,” Wilson added.

Since the shooting, Brown has spearheaded a bill to strengthen the current law in Georgia which protects police K-9's and horses.

“Depending on if the K-9 is killed in the line of duty, severely injured or if they are able to recover from their injuries,” Wilson said.

It also increases fines, requires an autopsy and includes restitution for training.

“If they injure a K-9, a police K-9, it's a serious matter,” he said.

After some compromising, the bill passed in the State Senate and is now headed to the House. It's nicknamed “Tanja's Law.”

“He took down one of our K-9's but it was another K-9 that tracked him down,” Wilson said.

And is a way Georgia will always remember one of Walker County's finest.

A non-profit organization called K-9 for Cops saw the media coverage about Tanja. They awarded a grant to the sheriff's department to purchase another K-9. A deputy is down in Alabama right now training with the K-9 named Rocky. Rocky is being repurposed as a police dog after working with the military in the Middle East. He will be ready in about four weeks.
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