Bill to make attacking service animals a crime
“We believe our service animals fulfill such an important role in supporting society that they deserve to be protected from harm. It is our aim to change the law to give them that protection.”
PC Dave Wardell started campaigning for the law to change after his police dog was stabbed by a suspected robber and nearly died.
Courageous service animals such as police dogs and horses will be offered greater protection under a new law being backed by Government.
The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill has been published in Parliament by Sir Oliver Heald MP and is scheduled for its second reading today (Friday 15 June).
It relates to the prominent Finn’s Law campaign, named after the police dog which was stabbed whilst pursuing a suspect with his handler PC David Wardell.
The proposed legislation will remove a section of the current law of self-defence, often used by those who harm a service animal.
This change, coupled with the government’s plans to increase maximum sentences for animal cruelty offences to five years in prison, will make sure those who harm service animals are punished accordingly.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:
This Bill will offer stronger protection for the many brave service animals that help to protect us. I pay tribute to PC David Wardell, Sir Oliver and all those who have campaigned for Finn’s Law.
This Government is continuing to raise the bar on animal welfare, whether it be for our beloved pets, brave service animals or on farms.
PC Dave Wardell, Finn’s Police Dog handler, said:
My boy Finn, now retired, was one of several thousand service animals that work to protect the whole of society 24 hours a day, everyday. When Finn was seriously injured it didn’t seem right to me or the public that he was seen as an inanimate object/property, in law.
A police officer has described the moment his dog was stabbed with a 10-inch knife but still “refused to let go” of the suspect, helping to protect his handler and leading to an arrest and subsequent conviction.
In a new book about the 2016 incident, PC Dave Wardell speaks warmly about the way his canine partner Finn protected him from an armed attacker during a police chase.
The loyal actions of Finn, a German shepherd from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire dog unit, were widely praised at the time and inspired PC Wardell to write Fabulous Finn, recalling the moments leading up to the 16-year-old suspect’s arrest…