Beds, Herts & Bucks

Stabbed police dog 'Finn's Law' petition passes 100,000 names

Finn with get well cards Image copyright PC Dave Wardell
Image caption Finn was stabbed protecting his handler from a suspect

The story of a police dog stabbed while chasing a suspected thief has prompted more than 100,000 people to sign a petition calling for support animals to have the same rights as officers.

German shepherd Finn was stabbed in the head and chest in Stevenage on 5 October. His handler was also injured.

A boy has been charged with assaulting the officer, and with criminal damage in relation to Finn's injuries.

The petition, dubbed "Finn's Law" could now be debated in parliament.

Finn and his handler, PC Dave Wardell, were injured trying to apprehend a man suspected of robbing a taxi driver at gunpoint.

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"Finn was stabbed trying to protect me," PC Wardell said. "He got it first."

Image copyright Hertfordshire Police
Image caption The seriously injured dog underwent four hours of emergency surgery and is now recovering at home with handler PC Dave Wardell

While PC Wardell was treated for a hand injury and quickly released from hospital, his dog underwent emergency surgery to save his life.

Four days later a petition was set up on the UK government's petition site, proposing that police animals - dogs and horses - "be given protection that reflects their status if assaulted in the line of duty".

'My soldier'

Signatures have passed the 100,000 mark, at which point petitions can be considered for debate within parliament.

Image copyright BCH Police Dogs
Image caption German shepherd Finn was stabbed in the head and chest after pursuing a suspect

"There were big smiles all round when we saw the numbers today," PC Wardell said.

"We're really, really happy. It shows just how much people care about the work police dogs like Finn do."

Hertfordshire's police and crime commissioner, David Lloyd also welcomed the outcome.

Image copyright BCH Police Dogs
Image caption His handler said PD Finn had been overwhelmed by the number of toys and treats sent to him
Image copyright PC Dave Wardell
Image caption Despite all those new toys, a tennis ball is still a police dog's best friend

"We fully embrace the sentiment behind this petition and support more recognition of the work police animals do," he said.

"Finn is a credit to the service and has been a huge part of the team, not just on this occasion."

PC Wardell said Finn is progressing well and hopes he will be able to return to active duty.

Image copyright BCH Dog Unit
Image caption PC Dave Wardell has had Finn since he was a nine-month-old puppy

"In the meantime we have a table covered with toys and treats from well-wishers," he said.

The officer remains at home nursing Finn, seven, back to health.

"He's my soldier," he said. "Right now my job is to look after Finn."

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