Barking at a Police Dog in Pennsylvania Gets You 7 Years in Prison

November 12, 2015   |   Lou Colagiovanni

Lou Colagiovanni
November 12, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) The accusation that Oakland Raiders linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong taunted a Pennsylvania police dog has shed light on a little known, and excessive, Pennsylvania state law.

Deputy Maria Watts of the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office was present at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Oct. 8. She claims Armstrong and other unnamed players “taunted” a 4-year-old German Shepherd police dog. Watts alleges Armstrong yelled, “Hey dog, hey dog” while “barking really loudly” as the players made their way out onto the field.

Watts continued, “Bandit was very agitated. He wanted me to let him go. I imagine with his training and experience he would have gone to his target who was taunting him. I don’t want to speculate on what he would have done.”

In response to Watts’ allegations, according to, chief deputy Kevin Kraus said, “We immediately initiated a criminal investigation into the matter.”

A criminal investigation for barking at a dog? Should members of the public be criminally responsible if law enforcement officials are unable to control their animals?

The law itself is even more quizzical. Pennsylvania law 5511.2, § (a) states:

It shall be unlawful for any person to willfully or maliciously taunt, torment, tease, beat, kick or strike a police animal. Any person who violates any of the provisions of this subsection commits a felony of the third degree.

In Pennsylvania a third degree felony is punishable by a $15,000 fine and 7 years in prison.

While there is no debate that it should be illegal to “beat, kick or strike a police animal,” the law also includes “tease” as an offense equal to physically harming a police animal. Imagine that — teasing is illegal. This literally means if an individual were to say, Hey dog. You look stupid with that collar on, do you know that? or Hey dog. You look pretty fat lately. Have you considered a diet? they would be guilty of a third degree felony according to 5511.2, § (a) which was made law in 1999.

It is highly unlikely that Armstrong will face any legal repercussions or official censure beyond possibly having to issue a hollow ten-second apology. He is, after all, rich and famous — and America’s two-tiered justice system takes care of its celebrities.

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Author: Lou Colagiovanni

Lou Colagiovanni joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in July of 2014. His topics of interest include crime and politics. Born in New York City, New York, he currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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  1. Any officer who fails to control their police animal should be subject to 14 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. Seriously though, if an officer gets that bent out of shape because someone barked at a dog, they obviously have no business being employed in law enforcement. But I'm tempted to travel to PA just to challenge the asininity of this law.

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  2. What. The. Fuck. Isn't this law a violation of freedom of speech? I can say whatever the fuck I want, pigs.

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  3. I wonder how many years in prison I might be risking if I were to tease, and bark at Deputy Maria Watts? Might calling her a bitch make a difference? Petty stupidity like this gives all police officers a bad name.

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  4. For my peace of mind, I have to go with the idea that the police, including Bandit, are just really, really big Steelers fans and were trying to throw the Raiders off their game by messing with Ray-Ray's head: "Thinking about winning, Ray-Ray? You better be thinking about Jail when you're on the field! That's what I'm talkin' about! Oh yeah!" See? It all makes so much more sense.

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  5. This article questions some obscure Pennsylvanian law, instead of the childish mentallity of Ray-Ray Armstrong.

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  6. More logic in questioning an obsure law then questioning the maturity of a football jock.

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  8. Matt Smith, we all know this privileged jock won't be charged for committing a third degree felony, if anything, however, his imature behavior of provoking a police dog to want to attack him, now makes this law more controversial.

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  10. Armstrong is lucky he isn't poor and that this didn't happen away from public eyes. He'd almost certainly have been murdered by the cops.

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  11. So – why DOES a supposedly adult male need to try to wind up a police dog? So that he can claim the dog and/or officer are out of control – perhaps look for some compensation – after all – must have been terrifying to have the dog bark back……! Perhaps this "man" should stay home until he all growled up and mummy doesn't need to hold his widdle hand.

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