Legislation to make it a criminal offence to attack a police animal has come a step closer to becoming law.
There were cheers in the Commons as the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill – named “Finn’s Law” after a police dog brutally stabbed while protecting his handler – passed unopposed at second reading.
Criminal damage is currently the only available charge for someone who attacks a police or service animal, but that’s all about to change.
PC Dave Wardell’s life was saved when his dog, Finn, almost died while chasing a robbery suspect who stabbed him in the head and chest.
Here, PC Wardell tells Sky News why he campaigned for the law to change, and why Finn’s Law is so important.
The passage of this bill marks the end of a horrendous journey that started for me in October 2016, when my best friend and police dog was stabbed twice while detaining a criminal.
I held Finn in my arms trying to stop the bleeding while rushing to the vets – I feared that I was going to lose him before we could get there.
Finn was just doing his job as a police dog and didn’t deserve to be attacked.
These animals work as hard as any police officer and often we ask them to deal with the very worst and most dangerous elements of policing.
They put their lives on the line to protect us and the public.
The only offence that Finn’s attacker could be charged with was criminal damage.
He is not a piece of property, he is my loyal police partner and best friend.
This had to be changed.
I spurred myself into action and started a campaign to change the law to protect these incredible animals.
Along with my local MP Sir Oliver Heald, we were able to get traction and gained the support of the public and our government.
I’m delighted to announce we are over a major hurdle to get Finn’s Law into place.
I would like to personally thank every single person that signed the petition, supported the campaign and lobbied their MP to support Finn’s Law – we’ve done it together as a team.
I can now finally take a step back and reflect on these past few months knowing that we have now offered some protection to these amazing police dogs who are out there 24 hours a day protecting our community.
I would like to also say a huge thank you to the press, and to Sky News, for their coverage of Finn’s Law.
You have all been an integral part of ensuring the bill was supported today.
From – SkyNews