A new law came into force on June 8th 2019 making it a criminal offence to injure or kill service animals. The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill is also known as Finn’s Law, named after the police German Sheppard who was stabbed while on service in 2016.
Despite Finn suffering multiple stab wounds to the lungs and head, he did not let go of the suspect, protecting his handler Pc Dave Wardell, until reinforcements arrived to make an arrest. After four hours of emergency surgery, Finn made a full recovery and is now retired. You can find out more about Finn’s heroics and recovery on the official website: finnslaw.com
The new Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill removed a section of the previous law which meant those who harmed police horses or dogs could claim self defence against the animal. In Finn’s case, the suspect faced charges of Actual Bodily Harm (ABH) for the injures inflected on Pc Wardell, but only criminal damage for the wounds inflected on Finn.
Finn’s Law now ensures police service animals now have more strict legal protection.
The UK government also have plans to increase maximum sentences for animal cruelty cases to five years in prison. Michael Gove, current Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said:
“This law is about giving our service animals the protection they deserve as they dedicate their lives to keeping us safe.
“I am committed to making the UK the best place in the world for the care and protection of animals.”