Smith, Maher Join Law Enforcement to Mark Implementation of ‘Rocco’s Law’
PITTSBURGH, Sept. 11, 2014 - - State Senator Matt Smith (D-Allegheny/Washington) and state Representative John Maher (R-Allegheny/Washington) joined with members of local and county law enforcement to mark full implementation of Rocco’s Law (Act 75 and Act 110 of 2014).

At an event held at the Pittsburgh Police Training Academy, Smith and Maher detailed the bipartisan effort to get Rocco’s Law passed and into effect in just over six months.

“We came together, Democrats and Republicans, to introduce legislation in the House and Senate to rectify what we saw as a disparity in the law,” Smith said. “The cooperative effort necessary to put this law on the books is a testament to the deep respect and appreciation the General Assembly has for the entire law enforcement community.”

In the weeks following the death of Pittsburgh Police K-9 Rocco, it became apparent that the penalty for the taunting and killing were both third degree felonies. Rocco’s Law was introduced to stiffen the penalties against those who torture or murder police animals to a felony of the second degree.

“With these new laws, Rocco’s contributions to law enforcement continue even after his death,” said Maher.

Local and county canine officers and handlers from throughout Western Pennsylvania were present for the event.

"On behalf of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, I applaud the state legislature for recognizing the importance of K-9 partners and passing this legislation so swiftly," said Acting Pittsburgh Police Chief Regina McDonald.

“We really wanted to use this opportunity to send a clear message to members of law enforcement and the wider community that these tougher penalties are in place and that anyone who severely harms a police animal will bear the full weight of Pennsylvania law,” Smith added.

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