Rocco's Law

Why Do We Sympathize With Animal Suffering?

Feb 3, 2016
Keith Srakocic / AP Images

If you saw a runaway bus hurtling toward a dog or a tourist, who would you save? If you chose the dog, you’re not alone.

'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.