Oakland Raiders linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong is facing up to seven years in prison for allegedly barking at a police dog before a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field, Penn Live reported Thursday. Armstrong had lifted his shirt and begun pounding his chest, barking at an Allegheny County Sheriff's Department bomb-sniffing dog, according to Chief Deputy Kevin Kraus.
Armstrong could be charged with taunting a police animal -- a third-degree felony in Pennsylvania punishable by a maximum sentence of seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
“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,” the law states, Penn Live reported.
— Esquire Magazine (@esquire) November 12, 2015
Armstrong was not arrested and went on to play against the Steelers. After the incident, the Sheriff's Department immediately contacted the Steelers, the Raiders and the NFL and informed them that it was beginning a criminal investigation. Officers obtained surveillance footage from the stadium, and charges could be filed by the end of this week. The decision to press charges falls on the Sheriff’s office, and Kraus reportedly met with the District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday to discuss pursuing charges against the football player.
“I’ve caught wind of this story. I’m going to put it in the ‘silly’ category,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday, the Guardian reported. “I think once the facts come to light I don’t think there’s going to be much of an issue. I wouldn’t make too much of it.”
Armstrong is a third-year reserve and previously played at the University of Miami and Faulkner University. He was signed by the St. Louis Rams in 2013 as an undrafted free agent, and joined the Raiders last season.