Panel hikes penalty for hurting police dog

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A state Senate committee unanimously voted Monday to amend state law to increase penalties for injuring or killing a police dog. The legislation was prompted by the death of Pittsburgh police canine Rocco earlier this year.

Passage of the bill from the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee means the bill will next go to the full Senate for consideration. The Senate is expected to take up the measure soon.

A companion bill, which already passed the state House, is in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The legislation would increase the penalty for injuring or killing a police dog to up to a $25,000 fine and as long as 10 years in prison. Currently, such a crime could bring a fine of up to $15,000 or up to seven years in prison.

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