A man who stabbed a Staffordshire Police dog in the head with a knife has been jailed in the first prosecution made under Finn’s Law. The new Animal Welfare (Emergency Services) Act, also known as Finn's Law, recognises police dogs as public servants and not just police property. Harming service animals in the line of duty carries the maximum sentence of six months.
Daniel O'Sullivan (29) from Liverpool is the first person in the UK to be prosecuted under Finn’s Law after stabbing Police Dog Audi from Staffordshire’s Dog Support Unit (DSU).
The attack occurred after Handler PC Karl Mander and PD Audi responded to reports of a man carrying a knife in Stoke-on-Trent. After arriving at the scene, they found O'Sullivan to be holding a glass bottle and a knife who threatened to stab PC Karl Mander and PD Audi if they approached. PD Audi was sent in to tackle the noncompliant O'Sullivan who then stabbed the dog twice in the head. PD Audi had to receive emergency medical treatment.
Detective Inspector Stephen Ward, from CID, said: "O'Sullivan presented a significant danger to anyone who was nearby and we cannot allow the public to be put at risk.
"He assaulted five officers, spitting at four of them, which is a degrading experience for the officers concerned and can present a health risk.
"O'Sullivan was out to seriously hurt PD Audi and it was lucky that he wasn't blinded or killed as a result of his injuries. Aside from the sheer cruelty of his actions, it takes a great deal of time, energy and expense to train a police dog and an experience like that could have ended his career. Fortunately, Audi has recovered well and is back at work."
O'Sullivan pleaded guilty to a total of five counts of assault on officers and two counts of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place.
He was sentenced to a total of 21 months on August 5th 2019, with three months to be served for injuring a police dog.