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.”