Rocco’s Law heads to governor’s desk

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Calling it a win for canine officers and handlers across the commonwealth, state Sen. Matt Smith D-Mt. Lebanon, and state Rep. John Maher, R-Upper St. Clair, announced that both components of Rocco’s Law are ready for the governor’s signature.


“It took bipartisan, bicameral cooperation and coordination to get Rocco’s Law to the governor in just five short months,” Smith said. “This is a clear sign of support and appreciation that this legislative body has for our law enforcement community.”


The House Appropriations Committee approved Senate Bill 1261 Tuesday afternoon, paving the way for unanimous final passage by the full House Tuesday evening. House Bill 2026, sponsored by Maher, passed the Senate last week.


Rocco’s Law (S.B. 1261 and H.B. 2026) is named after the Pittsburgh canine officer that was stabbed in January while helping police apprehend a suspect. Rocco later died from his injuries.


The bills would amend Pennsylvania’s Dog Law and Title 18 (crimes code), respectively, to toughen penalties against anyone who severely injures or kills a police animal from a third- to a second-degree felony. The second-degree felony comes with a fine of $25,000 and up to 10 years in prison.


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