- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 18, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A proposal to make killing or torturing a police dog a second-degree felony, a bill prompted by the stabbing death in January of Pittsburgh police dog Rocco, was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Pennsylvania state House.

Police said Rocco was killed by a fugitive suspect during an arrest, and the dog’s funeral was attended by about 1,200 people.

Rep. John Maher, R-Allegheny, said he was motivated to move quickly after learning current law allows for the same penalties for killing a police dog as for merely taunting one.

“The penalties for violence, purposeful violence against police animals should bear greater consequences than merely making faces at a police animal,” Maher said after the vote.

The bill would impose up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

A Senate Republican spokesman said the measure was likely to pass that chamber as well.

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