Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pennsylvania poised to enact Rocco's Law

Rocco's Law is on the way to the Governor's desk. The legislation named for a slain Pittsburgh police K-9 toughens the penalty for anyone convicted of hurting a police dog, reported the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.
Senate Bill 1261 and House Bill 2026, which make up Rocco's Law, would change the charge against a person convicted of severely injuring or killing a police animal from a third- to a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony carries a fine of $25,000 and up to 10 years in prison. Current law carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.
In Pennsylvania it is a first degree felony to attempts to cause serious bodily injury to a human being  or causes such injury intentionally, knowingly or recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.  Aggravated assault is a felony of the first degree punishable by up to 20 years and $25,000.
The House unanimously passed SB 1261. “It took bipartisan, bicameral cooperation and coordination to get Rocco's Law to the governor in just five short months,” said state Sen. Matt Smith, D-Mt. Lebanon, in a statement.
Rocco, an 8-year-old German shepherd, was stabbed while helping Pittsburgh police track a suspect in the basement of a Lawrenceville building on Jan. 28. He died two days later of his wounds.
Police charged John Rush, 21, of Stowe with aggravated assault, abusing a police animal, resisting arrest, cruelty to animals and other crimes. He is being held without bail in the Allegheny County Jail as he awaits trial.
“Rocco's service to the community continues even after his tragic death by inspiring a fresh look at our anti-cruelty laws,” said state Rep. John Maher, R-Upper St. Clair, who sponsored the House measure.
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