Finn´s Law named after hero police dog comes into force

Finn’s law to protect police dogs from attacks comes into force today named after hero German Shepherd who reached final of Britain’s Got Talent

  • Hero police dog Finn protected his handler from a knife-wielding suspect in 2016
  • Even though he suffered two serious stab wounds, Finn did not let the thug go
  • The suspect faced only criminal damage charges over injuries caused to Finn 
  • The bill, coming into force today, removes a section of the law of self-defence 

Finn’s Law, named after a hero police dog, is coming into force today to ensure police dogs and horses will have more protection from attacks.

The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill was nicknamed Finn’s Law after a loyal dog who was brutally stabbed while protecting his handler from a knife-wielding suspect in October 2016.

The bill removes a section of the current law of self-defence, often used by those who arm a service animal while committing a crime. 

Finn was stabbed repeatedly while protecting his handler from a knife-wielding suspect

Handler PC Dave Wardell, from Hertfordshire, said hero police dog Finn, now retired, saved his life when a robbery suspect they were pursuing turned on them with a knife.

The German shepherd was stabbed in the chest and head and was initially thought unlikely to survive, but despite his injuries he did not let the thug go until reinforcements arrived. 

‘In a split second, I saw the man lunge at Finn’s side with a weapon,’ PC Dave Wardell said.

‘As he pulled away, I saw a 10in blade, covered in Finn’s blood. 

Dave Wardell, pictured with Finn and his PDSA gold medal, said the dog saved his life

Finn, pictured after the brutal attack, was left with injuries in the neck and chest and was initially thought unlikely to survive

‘The man then lunged at me with the blade but Finn, despite being seriously hurt, grabbed hold and stopped him from landing a fatal blow. My hand was cut in the struggle and Finn’s head was sliced open.’ 

The suspect was charged with actual bodily harm in relation to Mr Wardell’s wounds, but faced only criminal damage charges over the injuries caused to Finn. 

PC Wardell said: ‘The last two and a half years have been quite a journey of discovery for Finn and me.

The hero police dog kept hold of the suspect despite suffering two serious stab wounds

‘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.’

Mr Wardell and Finn also managed to reach the final of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent, but lost to Chelsea Pensioner Colin Thackery.

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said the new legislation will make sure those who harm service animals are punished accordingly.

The government is also planning to increase maximum sentences for animal cruelty offences to five years in prison.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove congratulated campaigners who helped to make Finn’s Law a reality, including Conservative MP Sir Oliver Heald who tabled the Bill.

He 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.’

According to the group which led the campaign for Finn’s Law, more than 100 other service animals have been injured since 2012, DEFRA said.

These includes injuries such as being beaten with an iron bar, kicked or hit by a car.

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