In the UK, new legislation is now protecting service animals. It includes police dogs and horses and as of June 8, they are protected under this new law. It took years of campaigning for the legislation to become a reality with PC David Wardell taking the lead on behalf of Finn, his dog.
‘Finn’s Law’ – formally known as the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill will no longer allow those who injure and attack those animals from claiming self-defense.
The government has plans to increase the maximum sentences for those who are guilty of animal cruelty to five years in prison. The new law will be in effect on behalf of service animals to protect them from those who would harm them.
A police dog called Finn is who the law is named after. He was in pursuit of a suspect along with Dave, his handler when he was stabbed. Perhaps you may remember them from appearing on Britain’s Got Talent.
When they appeared on the talent show, they shared the story that happened when Finn was attempting to protect Dave and was stabbed in the chest.
He barely survived.
Dave has since given the retired police dog a forever home. He has been working hard to make Finn’s Law a reality since that time.
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.”
Since 2012, over 100 other service animals have been injured according to those who have campaigned for Finn’s Law. Those injuries include being kicked, hit by a car and being beaten with an iron bar.
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.
“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.”
Along with seeing Finn’s Law a reality, additional legislation that banned the third-party sale of puppies and kittens was in effect as well. Known as Lucy’s law, it helps to protect those animals. Additional reforms also are in place, such as mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses.