Rocco’s Law great example of government seeing past party lines

Published Apr 2, 2014 at 6:58 am (Updated Apr 1, 2014 at 9:31 am)

When Pittsburgh Police canine officer Rocco died after suffering stab wounds in the line of duty in late January, area government officials were quick to draw up “Rocco’s Law,” a proposed bill that would amend Pennsylvania’s Dog Law to increase penalties for the torture or killing of a police dog from a third to second degree felony.

As it is now, the consequences for taunting a police dog are the same as those for killing the animal. Making the act a second degree felony will increase the penalty to a fine of $25,000 and up to 10 years behind bars.

Senator Matt Smith (D-Allegheny/Washington) pioneered the bill, and thankfully, it passed through the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee unanimously on March 31.

“We are one step closer to final Senate passage,” Smith said on March 31. “There is significant bipartisan, bicameral support in the General Assembly for Rocco’s Law and I thank the committee chairs, Senators (Elder) Vogel and (Judith) Schwank for their swift action to move my bill forward.”

In the next step, the bill goes before the full senate for consideration.

“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 also said.

Smith and fellow Allegheny County senators sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committees urging quick action on both House Bill 2026 and Senate Bill 1261, and so far, their voices have been heard.

This is a great example of government working for the good of the people, and in this case, animals, too. When politicians forget about party lines and just focus on what matters, a lot of good can be accomplished, and it can be accomplished quickly.

It would be wonderful if the cooperation to work together and act on a serious matter at the local level could funnel up to the national level. So much more could get accomplished, and the United States could run as a safer, more efficient machine.

At the end of the day, it’s not about being a republican, democrat, libertarian, or independent. It’s about being human, and working together to move things forward.

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