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After police dog is killed, Roethlisberger’s foundation steps in

Ben Roethlisberger AP

Last month a Pittsburgh Police dog named Rocco was killed after being stabbed while helping officers make an arrest. Now Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is buying a replacement dog.

Roethlisberger announced on his website that his foundation, which has long supported police dogs, will buy a new canine partner for the human officer whose dog was killed.

“The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation started when a police K-9 was shot and killed where I grew up, in Findlay, OH,” Roethlisberger said. “My family and I were moved by what that dog meant to the police force, and learned that similar K-9′s all over the country are helping to keep our communities safe. This last week, a K-9 officer named Rocco was killed in my current hometown of Pittsburgh. After talking with officer Phil Lerza and getting his blessing, the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation would like to announce that we are going to get Officer Lerza a new dog. Rocco can never be replaced, but we only hope to help with the healing process and to provide Officer Lerza with another loyal partner.”

A 21-year-old man named John Rush has been charged with the death of Rocco. He faces up to seven years in prison.

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14 Responses to “After police dog is killed, Roethlisberger’s foundation steps in”
  1. EJ says: Feb 11, 2014 8:12 AM

    I hope that Rush gets the same amount of prison time that he would had he murdered a human officer of the law. Rocco may have walked on all fours, but his contribution to public safety is just as important as any Officer of the Law. Big ups to Roethlisberger.

  2. varnbo says: Feb 11, 2014 8:49 AM

    Browns fans here, now that the laughter has subsided I’ll continue.

    I live and work in PGH. Roethlisberger has a muddled reputation because of his own actions, however, I know from first hand experience he has an altruistic side to him that doesn’t get enough notice.

    He’s done things like this before. I’ve encountered him and he’s helped with other efforts.

    He’s definitely been bloodied by the media(his fault), so I am encouraged when his good deeds are recognized as well.

  3. kane337 says: Feb 11, 2014 8:51 AM

    That’s a cool foundation. Police dogs are so smart. Damn that guy for killing the dog.

  4. barkymingo says: Feb 11, 2014 8:54 AM

    Good for Ben and that cop who lost his friend/partner. I am a very big dog lover and am not sure what I would do if someone intentionally injured my dog. I also think that this guy, given his already extensive history, should be facing a little more than 7 years.

  5. steelbydesign says: Feb 11, 2014 8:55 AM

    For those that don’t know, Ben has donated a police dog to every road city he’s played in since he joined the league.

  6. youngs79 says: Feb 11, 2014 8:57 AM

    Nice gesture by Big Ben.

  7. classyjacklambert says: Feb 11, 2014 8:58 AM

    Roethlisberger seems like a good guy…

  8. charger383 says: Feb 11, 2014 9:37 AM

    I like him a little better now

  9. bobzilla1001 says: Feb 11, 2014 12:38 PM

    varnbo is mistaken. The Pittsburgh media have gone above and beyond to rehabilitate and reshape Roethlisberger’s once tarnished and twisted image. Bob Pompeani and Ron Cook are to Roethlisberger what MSNBC’s Chris Mathews is to Barack Obama…
    Nevertheless, Roethlisberger has always been generous towards law enforcement agencies. That infamous night in Georgia, he was flanked by off-duty state cops who served as his drinking companions/bodyguards … and I bet a good time was had by all.

  10. troy43mvp says: Feb 11, 2014 12:59 PM

    Cool Story, Good Cause!

  11. genericcommenter says: Feb 11, 2014 1:45 PM

    Cool. He should consider doing something similar for all the “civilian” dogs that police kill. I’m sure the number of those is a number of magnitude greater.

  12. slugbaitspace says: Feb 11, 2014 2:27 PM

    My sister-in-law is a K-9 handler. Two points:
    1. Facing “up to” seven years is getting off easy.
    2. Working to provide officers and departments with K-9 officers is admirable. Good on Ben.

  13. jimjets says: Feb 11, 2014 2:36 PM

    Wow. Proud of you Big Ben!

  14. haytammy says: Feb 11, 2014 3:05 PM

    Only seven years? I thought they were considered officers?

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