Finn’s Law to pro­tect po­lice dogs wins min­is­ters’ sup­port

Daily Express - - COME ON ENGLAND - By An­drew Wood­cock

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.”

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