'Police dogs are part of our family' says police chief after Finn's law is passed to protect service animals

PUBLISHED: 15:05 10 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:05 10 April 2019

Police dog Finn has gone down in history for changing the law so that it is now an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to a service animal. Picture: BEDS CAMBS HERTS POLICE

Police dog Finn has gone down in history for changing the law so that it is now an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to a service animal. Picture: BEDS CAMBS HERTS POLICE

Archant

A dog who was savagely attacked while detaining a criminal will go down in history as the animal who made it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to a service animal.

A bill named after Police Dog Finn was passed in the House of Lords. Picture: PDSAA bill named after Police Dog Finn was passed in the House of Lords. Picture: PDSA

Finn’s Law has been given Royal Assent following a three year campaign by his policeman owner PC Dave Wardell.

PC Wardell said of the achievement that he felt: “A little emotional, but so happy Finn has gone down in history. What a legacy for the job he absolutely loved doing every day of his career.”

The pair have been campaigning for better protection for service animals following an incident in October 2016 when Finn was savagely stabbed in the head.

Chief Constable Charlie Hall said: “Everyday officers and police dogs put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public and bring offenders to justice.

Police dog Finn required emergency surgery after he was stabbed while helping detain a suspect in Stevenage in 2016.Police dog Finn required emergency surgery after he was stabbed while helping detain a suspect in Stevenage in 2016.

“What happened to PC Dave Wardell and PD Finn is etched in all our memories and we continue to celebrate their bravery and courage in what was a very difficult situation.

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Fullwood said: “Our police dogs are part of our family and this incident affected us all.

“Our dogs, their handlers and their colleagues run towards danger and do some amazing work 24/7 to protect us and it is right they are seen as more than property.”

Dave and Finn, who is now retired from service with the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Dog Unit, were called to reports of a robbery in Stevenage.

PC Dave Wardell with the very fabulous Finn at his side. Picture: Quercus PublishingPC Dave Wardell with the very fabulous Finn at his side. Picture: Quercus Publishing

During pursuit of the suspect, Finn detained the suspect by holding on to his leg as the 16 year old tried to jump over a fence.

The suspect lunged and brutally stabbed Finn in the head and chest whilst Dave suffered an injury to his hand.

Finn still didn’t let go and other officers arrived to arrest the suspect.

The dog, whose courage protected Dave’s life that night, almost died from his injuries.

However, he made a miraculous recovery and was back on active duty just 11 weeks later. He retired in March 2017.

In 2017 Rt Hon Sir Oliver Heald QC MP brought the Animal Services Bill (Finn’s Law) to Parliament.

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PC Wardell continued: “This has been an amazing journey and such a positive campaign to be part of. All this positivity came from such a negative event.

“Finn has attended every stage through Parliament and is quite a feature there now.

“I would like to thank every single person who has supported us through this.”

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