Toughened penalties for harming Pa. police animals

Written by The Associated Press | Jul 3, 2014 5:15 AM

Photo by AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Officer Phil Lerza, second from right, walks with his family behind fellow Pittsburgh police officers carrying a photo of Lerza's K9 partner, Rocco, center, during a funeral procession on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, in Pittsburgh. Rocco was an 8-year-old German Shepherd that died Jan. 30, two days after being stabbed by a fugitive suspect during an arrest

(Harrisburg) -- Anyone who hurts or kills a police animal now faces tougher criminal penalties under a new Pennsylvania law proposed and passed after the death of a Pittsburgh police dog.

Governor Corbett has signed a bill known as "Rocco's Law,'' named for a German shepherd stabbed to death by a fugitive in January.

Rocco's funeral was attended by about 1,200 people.

Lawmakers revised the criminal offense to make it a second-degree felony.

It now carries a sentence of up to 10 years and a $25,000 fine.

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