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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: January 31, 2014 04:36 PM
From: Senator Matt Smith and Sen. Jim Ferlo, Sen. Jay Costa, Sen. Wayne D. Fontana, Sen. James R. Brewster, Sen. Randy Vulakovich, Sen. Timothy J. Solobay
To: All Senate members
Subject: “Rocco’s Law”: Increasing penalties for the torture and murder of police animals
In the near future, we intend to introduce legislation, Senate Bill 1260, increasing the penalty for the torture and/or murder of police animals.

As you may know, Pittsburgh police K-9 Rocco was viciously stabbed in the line of duty on January 28, 2014, and later died. Despite Rocco’s heroic death and service as an officer of the city, his abuser will not be adequately punished.

In an attempt to honor the life and service of Rocco and strengthen Pennsylvania’s law to protect against the abuse of K-9 officers, our proposal will increase penalties for the torment and torture of police animals. Currently in our Commonwealth, an individual who tortures or kills a K-9 officer can be charged with a felony of the third degree, which carries a prison sentence of no more than seven years and a fine of $15,000. The same charge applies to an individual who taunts or otherwise interferes with a K-9 officer.

Our proposal would recognize the fundamental difference between these two crimes by increasing the offense for torturing or killing a K-9 officer to a felony of the second degree, allowing for a prison term of up 10 years and a fine of $25,000. Such a penalty would more closely mirror federal law, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years and a $1,000 fine.

Please join us in strengthening our laws which will help prevent the future murder and abuse of police animals. If you have any questions, please contact Tim Golding in Senator Smith’s office by phone at 717-787-5839 or email at tgolding@pasenate.com.

Introduced as SB1261