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Rocco's Law Passed

New law increases penalty for injuring or killing police dog or horse.
ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY – After the death of police dog Rocco earlier this year in Pittsburgh, the state is trying to make sure it doesn't happen again.
 
The governor signed "Rocco's Law" on Wednesday. The law makes the penalties stiffer for people who seriously injure or kill a police dog or horse. The penalty has now been increased to a second degree felony. That comes with a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
 
Truman, a drug enforcement dog has been working in our region for nearly a decade.
 
His handler James Walstrom says it's hard to measure his dog's impact on the community.
 
"Truman has had thousands of drug finds. Some very substantial drug finds and he's had some small drug finds,” said James Walstrom.
 
And the bond they share is different than most.
 
"It's completely different from any type of working relationship in law enforcement or I would dare say any other profession for that matter,” said Walstrom.
 
In the line of duty, it's strictly professional. These dogs are sent into situations that could be dangerous, like the situation that killed Rocco in Pittsburgh earlier this year.
 
Matt Lutz, a K-9 officer for Logan Township hopes the new law will help prevent this from happening again.
 
"People understand that K-9s are going to get hurt on the job but to be killed by a criminal like that I think they should probably think twice before just killing it,” said Matt Lutz.
 
"That bond between a K-9 handler and his dog is insurmountable. It's like nothing I've ever seen,” said Walstrom.
 
And now they'll be protected not only by their handler, but Pennsylvania state law.
 
"The best thing about this is that K-9 Rocco didn't die in vein basically,” said Walstrom. “There is something good that is going to come from this and the next dog down the line that gets assaulted or killed, they'll face a big penalty for that."

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