An Edmonton police officer whose canine partner was killed during the pursuit of a suspect is pleased the federal government has pledged to introduce harsher punishments for people found guilty of killing or harming service animals – with a law that bears his dog’s name.

Cst. Matthew Williamson was in attendance Wednesday when Governor General David Johnston delivered the throne speech in Ottawa.

As part of the speech, Johnston referred to ‘Quanto’s Law’.

“Our government recognizes the daily risks taken by police officers, and their service animals,” Johnston said in the speech. “It will bring forward Quanto’s Law in honour of them.”

Williamson told CTV News after the speech that he was honoured the legislation is named after his late canine partner.

“I was very touched that he was mentioned during it,” Cst. Matt Williamson said Wednesday. “I didn’t expect it, I really thought that it would be a generic introduction, it was very personalized, I was very flattered.”

Back on Monday, October 7, Cst. Williamson and Quanto were deployed to apprehend a suspect.

Police had been pursuing a man driving a stolen vehicle, and the Canine Unit was called to the area at about 5:15 a.m. to assist.

The vehicle crashed into a median, and the suspect tried to flee on foot – when Quanto was deployed and engaged with the suspect in the parking lot at RCMP K-Division located near 109 Street and 111 Avenue.

It’s alleged the suspect stabbed Quanto, who was rushed to the Edmonton Veterinary Emergency Clinic, where he died at about 5:30 a.m.

Now, Paul Joseph Vukmanich, 27, is facing a number of charges, including cruelty to an animal.

In the days following the incident, pressure has increased on officials to make punishments harsher for those convicted of killing or maiming service animals.

It’s for that reason that Cst. Williamson and Cst. Troy Carriere, both with the EPS Canine Unit, were in Ottawa, with the intention of meeting with the Prime Minister about the issue.

At this time, the maximum punishment for a person convicted of animal cruelty is five years behind bars.

With files from Laura Tupper