Missouri lawmakers on Monday voted down a bill that would have increased the penalties for killing or injuring police dogs.
The measure needed 82 votes to pass and only 73 House members voted in favor of it. Sixty-eight members turned it down.
If enacted, people convicted of killing or incapacitating police dogs and other animals used by law enforcement would have faced at least three years behind bars and possibly 10. The current penalty is up to four years imprisonment, but there's no mandatory minimum prison sentence, reports the Associated Press.
But black House members slammed the proposal, citing the use of police dogs on African-American protesters historically. Democratic Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty said passing the bill would have sent the message that police dogs' lives matter more than the concerns of African-Americans.