I have become a co-signatory to the forthcoming Ten Minute Rule Bill to extend protections for service animals, such as police dogs.
Recently, a callous attack on police dog Finn took place and this has resulted in a growing number of people calling for a law to be put in place that increases sentencing and provides a stronger deterrent against future attacks on police animals.
Finn was extensively stabbed in the chest in course of his duty, in trying to apprehend a suspect and protect PC Dave Wardell, who suffered an injury too. Finn made a great recovery and returned to service. However, it was only possible to charge the accused with criminal damage – treating Finn as an object, or with animal cruelty which fails adequately to take account of his service duties.
This would build upon the work undertaken by the last Labour Government which introduced the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which introduced world leading sanctions for people who caused harm to animals.
The aim of the Bill, which has been given the full title of ‘The Service Animals Offences Bill’, is to create offences of attacking service animals in the course of their duty. This is something that already happens in Canada and other countries so the UK must now catch up.
This Bill has cross-party support.
The animals that support our security services, fire brigades and people with disabilities are just that: animals. They are not tools are equipment and therefore should be given the protection that all animals should.
The violent attack that took place in October 2016 against the police dog Finn is despicable. Labour already extended protections for assistance dogs when in government and it is now time that animals who work within our security services and fire brigades are also protected. Recently a public petition showed there is a desire for this law to be brought forward and I hope that the Government will support this Ten Minute Rule Bill.
Animal welfare is a matter that many people in Delyn care deeply about. By co-signing this Bill I am calling on the Government to accept the opinion of a large number of people. They must do the right thing and adopt this Bill.