Finn’s Law: Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act 2019

New legislation means causing unnecessary harm to protected service animals is now an offence in England and Wales.

The new law which has been given royal assent gives protection to service animals such as police horses and dogs.

The law was inspired by a German shepherd Finn, who was stabbed whilst apprehending a man in Stevenage in 2016.

The dog was stabbed twice in the head and chest; it was thought he would not recover the injuries. He survived the injuries and was on active duty 11 weeks later.

At the time, the suspect was charged with criminal damage charges in relation to the injuries of the dog.

Finn’s handler PC Wardell, campaigned for amendments to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 since the incident took place, to protect service animals in the future.

What does Royal Assent mean?

A new bill receives assent once it has been through all necessary parliamentary stages both in the House of Commons and House of Lords. The bill is then formally agreed to by the queen, making it an Act of Parliament and therefore law.

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