Stabbed police dog 'Finn's Law' petition passes 100,000 names
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.
"Finn was stabbed trying to protect me," PC Wardell said. "He got it first."
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".
Signatures have passed the 100,000 mark, at which point petitions can be considered for debate within parliament.
"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.
"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.
"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."