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​Finn’s Law Has Now Come Into Force To Protect Service Animals

​Finn’s Law Has Now Come Into Force To Protect Service Animals

The law will prevent those who attack or injure service animals like police dogs and horses from claiming self-defence

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman

New UK legislation designed to protect service animals like police dogs and horses came into force today (8 June), following years of campaigning from PC David Wardell on behalf of his dog Finn.

The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill - which has been dubbed 'Finn's Law' - will prevent those who attack or injure the animals from claiming self-defence.

Along with the government's plans to increase maximum sentences for animal cruelty offences to five years in prison, the new law will help bring justice to service animals and those who harm them.

The law is named after a police dog called Finn, who was stabbed while in pursuit of a suspect with his handler Dave - a duo you may remember from their amazing appearance on Britain's Got Talent.

Dave with Finn on Britain's Got Talent.

The pair went onto the talent show to share Finn's incredible story, which started back in 2016 when the pooch was stabbed in the chest and head while trying to protect Dave.

He survived... but only just.

Finn's injuries were so bad they were almost fatal.

Dave, who has taken the now-retired police dog in to live with him, has campaigned for Finn's Law ever since.

He said: "The last two and a half years have been quite a journey of discovery for Finn and me. We decided that we just had to bring change to make sure our amazing service animals, including police dogs and horses, had protection in law. We wanted to bring as much positive from that one negative as we could.

"The campaign was run positively on my and my family's request and it was wonderful to see so many thousands of people getting involved. Clearly our service animals are held in high regard, as they should be. We must now make sure we follow up this amazing news on #FinnsLaw with #FinnsLawPart2, the increase in sentencing as soon as possible."

According to Finn's Law campaigners, more than 100 other service animals have been injured since 2012, including injuries such as being beaten with an iron bar, kicked or hit by a car.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: "This law is about giving our service animals the protection they deserve as they dedicate their lives to keeping us safe.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove with Finn and Dave.

"I am committed to making the UK the best place in the world for the care and protection of animals.

"Congratulations to all those who have campaigned to make Finn's Law a reality and to Sir Oliver Heald for campaigning for this from the start."

Sir Oliver Heald MP said: "I am very pleased that the measure that began 18 months ago as my Ten Minute Rule Bill was so strongly supported by colleagues across the House, that it is now on the statute book.

"I pay great tribute to the Campaign Team, Sarah Dixon, Nicola Skelley and above all, my constituent, PC Dave Wardell and the marvellous Finn. From today, service animals and their handlers have the legal recognition they deserve."

The introduction of Finn's Law also follows new legislation to ban the third party sale of puppies and kittens, known as Lucy's Law, along with other reforms including mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses.

Featured Image Credit: International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

Topics: uk news, News, Animals