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Sex Offender Kills K9 Officer, Bail Set for 1 Million Dollars

Sex Offender Kills K9 Officer, Bail Set for 1 Million Dollars

January 30th was a sad day for the Pittsburgh Police Department. Flags were lowered to half staff, tears were shed by the entire community, and officer Phil Lerza’s heart was broken. His partner, who happened to have four legs, had been killed in the line of duty.

The loss of this hard working German Shepherd was no different than the loss of any other police officer that offered his life to protect his community. John L. Rush, a convicted sex offender,  stabbed Rocco during an attempted arrest by the police. He also injured two other human police offers while resisting arrest.

After a hard fight at the Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center in Ohio Township, Rocco’s body was carried out on a gurney covered with an American flag. A few days later, he was honored at a standing room only funeral service.

During his career, the 8-year-old Rocco had found 18 explosives and discarded guns. While he had worn a protective vest some days, they weren’t used in every situation.

John L. Rush’s is being held on 1 million bail.

R.I.P. dear Rocco. Your work was admired by more than those fortunate enough to have known you.

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Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa's blog here.


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8:11AM PST on Jan 13, 2015

Sad news but thanks for sharing, RIP Rocco

12:24PM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

That devil sex offender should not be bailed at all or otherwise, $5 million!! He also has to put in labor work for the community and a class of kindness and compassion, as well as a class in behavioral and social study.

7:11PM PDT on Apr 1, 2014

I am sad that this police dog died, but I wish the police was equally upset for all the dogs that are killed daily in their own back private yards or in private homes, by over cealous police officers.

Their are rarely any consequences these trigger happy officers have to face.

Google "Puppycide A Doucumentary"; that's in the works, and see the thousands of people who had their innocent dogs killed by police. It's truly heartbreaking, and it is happening every single day, be prepared to shed tears...

8:29AM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

All well, & good.

But this coin has two sides.

Just heard on the news today that a Mobile cop was searching for someone.

He entered a fenced back yard, & shot two dogs he found there, killing one, & severely wounding the other.

He might get a repromand, but I doubt that.

If It were my doge, the city better be ready to defend a hefty suit.

Because I'd be suing both.

6:42PM PDT on Mar 13, 2014

Dogs play an important part of the force, and any crime committed against them should be treated as a crime against an officer.

1:24AM PST on Mar 9, 2014

Don S.

I have seen both dogs and horses in action. I haven't seen abuse at their displays. Can't speak for behind the scenes. I'm talking about the abuse of using them to make up for man's lack of courage in doing his job.

12:18PM PST on Mar 7, 2014

Million Dollar Bail? If he had 2 legs would he be off on a million dollar bail? I don't think so. Two legs or 4 the punishment should fit the crime.

9:06AM PST on Mar 7, 2014

PAMELA B: I suggest that you arrange to make trip to your nearest Police K9 Unit and/or the K9 Training Unit on Lackland AFB in San Antonio and see the wonderful animals in action. Let me know how much abuse you see.

MARTHA F: They do not have vests for K9's and if they did, a vest WILL NOT STOP A KNIFE. Don and WE CAN! :-))

7:14AM PST on Mar 7, 2014

The saddest part is that this could have been prevented if he had been wearing his vest. My heart goes out to his partner for his loss and the knowing that it didn't have to happen.

2:41AM PST on Mar 4, 2014

Don S
Actually I do have an idea which is why I have ALWAYS been against the use of animals in the police and military. Just because they have been used and abused for eons doesn't make it right. And while certain breeds might have been chosen for their qualities or trained for specific jobs they weren't bred for this work. They might have been part of a government breeding program but the actually breed wasn't designed for the military. "Think "sheep dogs", "retrievers", rat terriers" etc." I know of no breed of dog or horse with police, war, bomb, etc., in the name.

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