Bill to increase penalty for killing police animals

State Rep. Thomas Murt, whose dis­trict in­cludes North­east Phil­adelphia and Mont­gomery County, has co-sponsored le­gis­la­tion to in­crease the pen­alty for those who cause the death of a po­lice an­im­al that is deemed to have been killed in the line of duty.

ldquo;The le­gis­la­tion, which will be known as ‘Rocco’s Law,’ is be­ing in­tro­duced in re­sponse to the death of Rocco, an 8-year-old Ger­man shep­herd that served along­side a Pitt­s­burgh po­lice of­ficer,” Murt said.

Rocco, a City of Pitt­s­burgh po­lice dog, re­cently died after he was stabbed while help­ing to ap­pre­hend a sus­pect.

Un­der cur­rent law, in­jur­ing or tor­tur­ing a po­lice an­im­al is a felony of the third de­gree.  The new le­gis­la­tion would place the pen­alty for killing a po­lice an­im­al on equal foot­ing with killing a hu­man law en­force­ment of­ficer.

“Po­lice an­im­als may not be hu­mans, but they are un­deni­ably con­sidered by most to be fel­low law en­force­ment of­ficers,” Murt said. “They re­ceive ex­tens­ive train­ing and risk their lives to pro­tect and serve our com­munit­ies. Those who in­ten­tion­ally or reck­lessly take the life of a po­lice an­im­al should face a harsh­er pen­alty.” ••

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