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A man who stabbed a police dog in the head has become the first person to be jailed under a new law designed to protect working police animals.
Daniel O'Sullivan, 29, originally from Litherland, admitted attacking the police dog, Audi, as his handler attempted to make an arrest in Stoke-on-Trent.
O'Sullivan is now the first person to be charged under the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act 2019, otherwise known as Finn's Law.
The attack, which happened on 1 July, was described as 'plainly premeditated' by Judge Paul Glenn, who jailed O'Sullivan for 21 months.
He also admitted five counts of assaulting police officers and two of possessing offensive weapons.
Judge Glenn said he had been heard 'screaming threats, including that [he] would stab the dog handler', as well waving around various weapons, having taken cocaine and monkey dust.
He called it a 'gratuitous' assault on Audi.
Det Insp Stephen Ward said: "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."
Thankfully, Audi has now made a full recovery.
New UK legislation designed to protect service animals like police dogs and horses came into force in 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.
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.
David 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."
Thankfully, PC Wardell's hard work has paid off, and it might help people think twice before hurting any animals just trying to do their job.
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