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It’s been over two years since campaigners first set out to change laws to better protect UK service animals.

Last night it was announced in the House of Lords that the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill 2019, which makes it an offence to harm service animals, has received Royal Assent and will now become law.

It was the news that PC Dave Wardell and his former police dog – now family pet – Finn had been waiting for. Finn, who gives his name to the law, and PC Wardell were stabbed whilst on duty in Stevenage back in 2016.

But whilst the attack almost cost Finn his life, injuring a police dog was seen as no different from damaging a headlight on a police car and the suspect was only charged with criminal damage for injuring Finn.

PC Wardell with Finn after surgery
PC Wardell with Finn after surgery

In a post on Facebook reacting to last night’s news, PC Wardell wrote, “what amazing news to wake up to, we’ve done it. #Finnslaw is now a Law.

“For all those service animals working in England, they now have protection in Law. I am so proud that something so positive has come from such a negative night.

“I sometimes think about that night, I think that something was supposed to happen to make me stand up for my colleagues and get the protection they deserve🐾

“It has been an amazing journey but could have got here without Sarah Dixon and Nic Skelley for all their hard work and determination. And to Sir Oliver Heald for pushing it through Parliament. And to everyone who shared our posts and spoke to MP’s and helped spread the word.

“Now we need to push for Scotland and NI and increase sentencing for the animal welfare act to increase to 5 years.”

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