This week, a new law to protect service animals such as police dogs and horses, came into force. The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill is known as ‘Finn’s Law’ and will prevent those who attack or injure service animals from claiming self-defence.
I welcome this law, which many of you may have heard about watching Britain’s Got Talent, as the law is named after Finn, a police dog who took part in the show with his handler.
Finn was stabbed whilst pursuing a suspect with his handler PC David Wardell. He sustained serious stab wounds to the chest and head but due to the law at the time, only criminal damage charges could be brought against his attacker.
This new law, along with plans for the Government to increase sentences for animal cruelty offences to five years in prison, will ensure those who harm service animals are punished accordingly.
Thousands of animals work in service in the UK and according to the group which has campaigned for this law change, more than 100 animals have been injured since 2012. They have been hurt in a number of ways, including being kicked or hit by a car.
This law is due to be followed by ‘Lucy’s Law’ which will ban the third-party sales of puppies and kittens. It means people looking to buy or adopt a puppy or kitten under six months will have to deal with a breeder or an animal rehoming centre.
Finn’s Law and Lucy’s Law, as well as reforms at slaughterhouses, are all part of new measures aimed at ensuring the UK is a world leader in animal welfare.
I am really pleased this law is now in place as harming a police animal, whether a dog or a horse, is a terrible crime. I hope this change will deter people from committing such awful crimes as well as adequately punish those who do.