Governor Tom Corbett on Wednesday signed “Rocco’s Law,” legislation that toughens penalties against those who severely injure or kill a police animal. Under the new law, those who injure or kill a police animal, including dogs and horses, will be charged with a second-degree felony that comes with a fine of $25,000 and up to 10 years in prison.
Rocco’s Law is named after the Pittsburgh canine officer that was fatally stabbed in February.
“We want to protect those who protect us,” Corbett said. “Rocco gave his life for his community, and this legislation ensures those who do harm to law enforcement animals will receive the punishment they deserve.”
“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.”