- Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 18:13
State Senator Matt Smith (D-Allegheny/Washington) hailed the unanimous committee passage of Senate Bill 1261, "Rocco's Law."
Following the approval by the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, the bill now goes before the full Senate for consideration.
"We are one step closer to final Senate passage," Smith said. "There is significant bipartisan, bicameral support in the General Assembly for "Rocco's Law" and I thank the committee chairs, Sens. Vogel and Schwank, for their swift action to move my bill forward."
Smith's bill would amend Pennsylvania's dog law to increase penalties for the torture or killing of 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.
Smith said that passing both bills is necessary because penalties for harming or killing a police dog are listed in separate areas of the Pennsylvania Law.
"Enacting both House Bill 2026 and Senate Bill 1261 will rectify the disparity in the law and ensure consistency and clarity of the penalty should a tragedy like this occur again," Smith said. "We are committed to sending the governor a strong set of bills to serve as a deterrent for anyone who would dare harm a canine officer."
Smith and his Senate colleagues from Allegheny County last week sent a letter to the chairs of the Senate Judiciary and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committees urging speedy action on both bills.