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Proposed K9 law would stiffen penalty for killing police dog

Updated: Wednesday, March 19 2014, 10:13 PM CDT
Reported by: Ewa Roman

Lancaster Police Dog Leo is trained to protect, patrol, find narcotics and sniff out suspects. The job is dangerous.

" It was a building search for a burglary in progress and he located three males in the basement of the house, so there was a period of time where it was just him versus three guys," said Lancaster Police Officer Ryan Hockley as he talks about his partner, Canine Leo.

Leo left the scene unharmed, but Canine Rocco wasn't so lucky.
Rocco was Pittsburgh's police dog. He died in the line of duty earlier this year.

Rocco's death sparked new legislation that stiffens penalties for those killing or torturing any police animal, which includes dogs and horses used by mounted police.

"There's canines serving all across the country and they're putting their lives on the line, just as human officers are day in and day out and any extra step that can be taken to protect them is more than warranted," said Officer Hockley.

The bill would make killing or torturing a dog a second degree felony.

Lawmakers say the current law allows for the same penalties for killing a police dog as for merely taunting one.

Officer Hockley hopes it's signed into law soon, not only for his partner in crime, but for all of the other police Canines out there.

"He's my partner at work and he's just part of the family at home," said Officer Hockley.

The new proposed law would also impose up to 10 years in prison and a 25-thousand dollar fine.

We reached out to officials and found out the bill is expected to pass the Senate sometime relatively soon.
Proposed K9 law would stiffen penalty for killing police dog

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