Beds, Herts & Bucks

Dog stabbing: Government set to back Finn's Law for tougher sentences

Police dog Finn and handler PC Dave Wardell Image copyright Hertfordshire Police
Image caption German Shepherd Finn was stabbed in the head and chest and has been recovering with his handler, PC Dave Wardell

A law to bring in tougher sentences for people who attack police dogs is set to be backed by the government.

More than 120,000 people signed a petition backing Finn's Law, named after a dog who was stabbed while chasing a suspect in Hertfordshire.

Speaking during a parliamentary debate on the petition, Policing Minister Brandon Lewis said new legislation could be brought in next year.

"None of us think of police animals as just equipment," he said.

"They are an important part of the job."

German Shepherd Finn was stabbed in the head and chest and his handler received a hand injury in Denton Road, Stevenage, after they pursued a suspect on 5 October.

At the moment, those who attack police dogs and horses are prosecuted for causing criminal damage, but campaigners want the animals to be given the same status as injured officers.

Mr Lewis told the Commons: "It doesn't seem to me to properly convey the respect and gratitude that we do and should feel for the animals involved, and for their contribution to law enforcement, and indeed public safety more widely."

Image copyright BCH Police Dogs
Image caption PD Finn had been "overwhelmed" by the number of toys and treats sent to him, his handler said

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