Much attention has been paid to the well-being of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police’s K-9 officers since the death of Officer Rocco earlier this year.
Higher quality protective vests are to be purchased for the 24 dogs on the force.
Now, a bill providing “pensions” for retired officers has received unanimous approval in City Council.
“It provides for food for the canines, it also provides for medical expenses, as long as they’re utilizing the same vet they had since they started with the city of Pittsburgh, and it gives them a free dog license,” said Councilwoman Darlene Harris, who sponsored the legislation.
Typically, handlers adopt the dogs once they retire. They’ll receive a $500 annual stipend for food and the city will also pay veterinary expenses up to $200/year.
Harris said the money will come out of the existing police budget and that no additional allocation is needed. Because dogs typically live 10-13 years, Harris said the expense to care for them after retirement is not great.
“We actually have four or five (K-9 officers) that are 12 years old that are still working,” Harris said. “They don’t have that much of a life span left, so just to honor these dogs for what they’ve done for their handler and for the community, I think they deserve it.”
The new ordinance will apply to the nine living retired K-9 officers and all future retirees.