The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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February 7, 2014

Funeral set for stabbed Pittsburgh police dog

PITTSBURGH — The funeral for a Pittsburgh police dog stabbed in the line of duty was set to begin following a procession of vehicles from the city’s K-9 Academy to Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum in Pittsburgh.

Rocco, the 8-year-old German Shepherd, died Jan. 30, two days after being stabbed by a fugitive suspect during an arrest. That man, 21-year-old John Rush, remains jailed on charges of attacking the dog and other human officers at the scene, as well as the bench warrants for which he was arrested.

The dog’s handler, Officer Phil Lerza, was also stabbed in the shoulder. He initially requested a closed funeral, before an outpouring of public support convinced the handler and city police brass to open Friday’s service to the public.

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