Rocco's Law

'Rocco’s Law' Moves Forward in Harrisburg

Mar 17, 2014

Six weeks after the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police said goodbye to K-9 officer Rocco, legislation is advancing through the Pennsylvania House that would strengthen the punishment for those who harm a police dog.

Rocco’s Law, sponsored by Rep. John Maher (R-Allegheny/Washington), would make injuring or killing a police dog a felony of the second degree carrying a maximum fine of $25,000 and 10 years in prison. This includes mutilating, disabling or poisoning a K-9 officer.

Pittsburgh police dog Rocco will be laid to rest Friday, and soon after the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation plans to announce eight grants for more K-9 officers.

The foundation’s mission is to support the dogs of police and fire departments throughout the U.S. with a particular emphasis on Pittsburgh.

Jessica Duffaut, relationship manager for the foundation, said the foundation realizes that you can never replace a dog, especially a police dog.

Legislation that would strengthen the penalties against killing or torturing a law enforcement animal might not have saved K-9 Officer Rocco’s life, but one lawmaker hopes it could save other K-9 officers such as Mt. Lebanon Police Department’s “Snieper.”

That is the goal of state Sen. Matt Smith (D-Allegheny) who said he saw how valuable the canines are when he visited Officer Snieper and his handler, Officer Ben Himan Monday.