1,200 attend police dog’s funeral

PITTSBURGH (AP) – An estimated 1,200 people attended the funeral for a Pittsburgh police dog stabbed in the line of duty.

The ceremony took place Friday morning at the 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.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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