Murt Backs Bill to Increase Penalty for Killing Police Animals
HARRISBURG-- Rep. Thomas Murt (R-Montgomery/Philadelphia) 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.

“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.

“The outpouring of emotion from the public has been staggering, and many people are asking why there is not a more severe penalty for killing a police animal,” Murt said.

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.

The legislation would make the following specific changes:

• A person who intentionally or knowingly kills a police animal shall be charged with a felony of the first degree.

• A person who, as a direct result of the doing of an unlawful or lawful act in a reckless or grossly negligent manner, causes the death of a police animal while in the performance of duty and the person knew or should have known the victim was a police animal, shall be charged with a felony of the second degree.

“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.” 

Representative Thomas P. Murt
152nd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: David Foster
267.207.0207 /
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