The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill comes into force to protect service animals such as police dogs and horses Image: By petert2 AdobeStock

The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill to protect service animals such as police dogs and horses

New legislation to protect service animals such as police dogs and horses will come into force today (Saturday 8 June). The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill, known as ‘Finn’s Law’, will prevent those who attack or injure service animals from claiming self-defence.

The law is named after Finn, a police dog who was stabbed whilst pursuing a suspect with his handler PC David Wardell. Finn sustained serious stab wounds to the chest and head, but only criminal damage charges could be brought against his attacker.

This new legislation will make sure those who harm service animals are punished accordingly.

According to the group which led the campaign for this law, more than 100 other service animals have been injured since 2012. This includes 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.

“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.”

PC David Wardell said:

“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.”