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10 Years in Jail, $25K Fine for Police Dog Killers if Bill Passes Pa. House

The state Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed “Rocco’s Law,” legislation that toughens penalties against those who severely injure or kill a police dog.

A Bensalem Police Department canine officer. Patch file photo
A Bensalem Police Department canine officer. Patch file photo

State lawmakers on Wednesday took a step in protecting Pennsylvania’s police dogs.

The state Senate unanimously passed “Rocco’s Law,” legislation that toughens penalties against those who severely injure or kill a police dog. The bill, if passed by the House, would make injuring or killing a police animal a second-degree felony that comes with a fine of $25,000 and up to 10 years in prison. 

Rocco’s Law, Senate Bill 1261, is named after the Pittsburgh canine officer that was fatally stabbed in February.

“Canine officers are a significant asset for local police departments and provide officers with an additional resource and additional seconds of reaction time. There is no doubt that canine officers help keep men and women in uniform safe every day,” said Senator Matt Smith (D-Allegheny/Washington), who sponsored the legislation.

The bill has been endorsed by the Humane Society.

“The Humane Society of the United States is proud to support Rocco’s Law because we recognize that canine officers not only perform vital police work in locating explosives and evidence, but like Rocco, lay down their lives to protect their handlers,” said Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania State Director of The Humane Society of the United States. “We thank the Senate for unanimously passing Rocco’s Law.”

Joe Coffee June 12, 2014 at 09:56 AM
So if someone stabs my dog it's OK? I think not.. My dog should have the same rights as every other dog.
susan e stein June 12, 2014 at 10:00 AM
I also agree, mist especially when a family pet is gunned down by an over zealous police officer. Trsined, armed & licensed to kill does not give those in uniform a license to act without cause or care.
Carl Stevenson June 12, 2014 at 12:20 PM
Agreed with Susan ... Hundreds of harmless family pets are gunned down by cops every year, just because they can and get away with it. I see no reason to give extraordinary protection to police dogs. I don't support criminals, and I'm a former police officer. However, if a dog attacks me, my family, or my animals on my property, I'll shoot it in self-defense if necessary. Anyone maliciously killing innocent animals should be punished severely, but there needs to be reasonable provisions for legitimate defensive action against any animal. Including "police dogs." Calling them "officers" is a big stretch.
Heidi June 15, 2014 at 06:45 AM
So agree with everyone above. I am sure my dog no matter the breed would be gunned down because she loves men & would run at them to get attention just like most other dogs that cops are killing. My dog deserves the same rights!
busybody June 18, 2014 at 09:17 PM
I have a small dog but he will run at anyone who comes on our property to protect me. The lawn people who are regulars don't get much attention from him, but God help the UPS man. He's not very nice anyway! I can't imagine anyone shooting an animal unless it is mauling another animal or a child. Just because you have a gun, you do not need to use it. A good knee to the chest should stop an a dog from coming at you and cops have clubs too. If it does not and the dog is super aggressive, then sadly it should be put down, quickly followed by the owners who trained it. I don't think german shepards should be called officers and as far as I am concerned what ever law is passed regarding the killing of these dogs should be the minimum applied to the deaths of every citizen in PA. If by car or accident....10 years and $25,000. That would help the state budget.

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