I am delighted that Finn’s Law has progressed to the next legislative stage following its passing of Committee Stage on 16 January 2019.
The Service Animals (Protections) Bill, which is more commonly known as Finn’s Law, has been produced by a cross-party group of MPs following a callous attack on police dog Finn. This 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.
The aim of the 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.
I am a co-sponsor of the Bill.
The bravery and courage that Finn, the police dog, showed to protect his handler and friend should result in a change in the law. PC Dave Wardell, Finn’s handler, was saved by the actions of Finn and it is completely wrong that service animals are only treated as property and not sentient beings. This law would change that.
Being a co-sponsor of this Bill has been extremely important to me. This week I was able to sit on the Committee of the Bill and it passed with ease; showing the wide-ranging support this Bill has across Parliament.
It has been good to see the cooperation of the Welsh Government to make sure this law applies to Wales.
I look forward to the day when Finn’s Law is on the statute books and we can ensure that all service animals are protected in law from attacks.