Finn’s Law to protect police dogs wins ministers’ support
POLICE dogs and horses are set to get more protection from attacks after Government backing for a Bill implementing a so-called “Finn’s Law”.
Named after a police dog stabbed while protecting his handler, the new law will stop criminals pleading self-defence.
The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill was tabled by Conservative MP Sir Oliver Heald but stood little chance of becoming law without Government support.
Announcing his backing, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “This Bill will offer stronger protection for the many brave service animals that help to protect us. This Government is continuing to raise the bar on animal welfare, whether it be for our beloved pets, brave service animals or on farms.”
Finn’s handler, PC Dave Wardell, from Hertfordshire, said the dog – now retired – saved his life when a robbery suspect they were pursuing turned on them with a knife in 2016.
Finn was stabbed in the chest and head but did not let go until reinforcements arrived. He was initially thought unlikely to survive. The suspect was charged with causing actual bodily harm in relation to wounds to PC Wardell’s hand but faced only criminal damage charges over the injuries to Finn.
PC Wardell said: “When Finn was seriously injured it didn’t seem right to me or the public that he was seen in law as an inanimate object or property.
“This campaign and Bill is my way of saying thank you to Finn for saving my life and to the many others for the truly outstanding and brave work they do every day.”
Sir Oliver said: “This is a good day for all of our brave service animals.”