UK police dogs and horses will be protected by law from today
New legislation has come through in the UK that will help protect police dogs and horses, as of today (June 8). The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill - dubbed 'Finn's Law' - will prevent those who attack and hurt these animals from claiming self-defence, while sentences for animal cruelty are also set to be increased.
The bill's name comes from former police dog Finn, whose owner PC David Wardell has been campaigning for years. Finn barely survived being stabbed in the chest and head while trying to protect Dave from a suspect, a story that Wardell eventually told on stage when he appeared on TV talent show Britain's Got Talent.
"This law is the only reason I put myself on stage in front of nine million people," he said at the time.
Watch their tear-jerking appearance on the talent show:
Ever since the attack, Dave has taken care of the now-retired police dog and has campaigned for Finn's Law to come into place. According to campaigners, over 100 other service animals have been injured since 2012.
After finding out this latest news, Wardell 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."
Environment Secretary Michael Gove also showed his support for the new bill, claiming he is committed to making the UK the best place in the world for the welfare of animals.
"This law is about giving our service animals the protection they deserve as they dedicate their lives to keeping us safe," he said.
Watch David talk about the introduction of the law below:
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 this new legislation comes into play after Lucy's Law came into effect. This law restricts third-party sales of puppies and kittens, and brings in various other reforms - including mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses to prevent further cruelty.