Scotland

Police dog Finn's law to be implemented in Scotland

German shepherd
Image caption Police dog Finn was stabbed as he protected his handler from an attacker in 2016

A law named after a police dog who was stabbed while trying to protect his handler from an attacker is to be implemented in Scotland.

Finn's Law came into force in England earlier this year and makes it harder for those who harm service animals to claim they were acting in self-defence.

It came after a campaign by PC Dave Wardell whose German shepherd was injured as he chased a suspect in 2016.

The pair appeared on TV show Britain's Got Talent.

A new Animal Welfare Bill was part of the programme for government announced by Nicola Sturgeon at Holyrood on Tuesday.

As well as incorporating Finn's Law, it will also increase the maximum jail time for extreme animal cruelty from 12 month to 5 years.

Image caption PC Dave Wardell and Finn met Scotland's minister for rural affairs, Mairi Gougeon, at Holyrood

Finn saved PC Wardell's life when a knife-wielding robbery suspect attacked them in Stevenage in 2016.

Finn was stabbed in the chest and head and was not expected to survive. PC Wardell was stabbed in the hand.

The suspect who attacked Finn, inflicting near fatal injuries, could only be charged with criminal damage and punished with a small fine.

Scotland's minister for rural affairs, Mairi Gougeon, met Finn and his owner PC Wardell.

"Like so many of our service animals, Finn selflessly put himself in the way of danger in order to protect us and was very nearly killed in the process," she said.

"Thankfully he survived and, after some equally tenacious campaigning from Dave, they were able to have the law changed in England to provide service animals with the protection they deserve.

"This week's programme for government announced that the Scottish government is set to create new legislation to further protect animals and wildlife, which will include an increase in the maximum available penalties for the worst offences, and includes implementing Finn's Law."

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