Hemel Hempstead MP, Sir Mike Penning, has welcomed last month’s passing of the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill’s Third Reading in the House of Commons which moves it on to the final stages before becoming law.
The Bill which is commonly known as Finn’s Law, will ensure proper legal protection for police dogs and other service animals.
Sir Mike said: ‘This is great news. Any dog-lover will know that it is an absolute nonsense – and to be frank upsetting – that Finn is legally treated only as a piece of police property. Service animals such as Finn do a magnificent job and need to be protected by the law.’
Finn and his handler PC Dave Wardle were pursuing a robbery suspect when he turned on them with a knife. PC Wardle insists that Finn saved his life that day and in doing so, Finn sustained serious stab wounds to the chest and head. Despite this, Finn would not let go of the suspect until reinforcements arrived.
Initially, Finn was not expected to a survive. The suspect was charged with ABH in respects of the injuries sustained by PC Wardle but could only be charged with criminal damage with regard to the injuries sustained by Finn. In effect, the law treats Finn as a piece of property.
All that is set to change if Finn’s Law becomes law. MPs unanimously backed the changes and it has now passed to the House of Lords where Hertfordshire’s Lord Trenchard will be leading the Bill.
PC Wardle and Finn have attended Parliament as the Bill has progressed through the various stages in the House of Commons.