The champions behind Finn’s Law, PC Dave Wardell and his life-saving retired police dog Finn, were in Birmingham today attending the UK’s largest animal welfare conference: Association of Dogs & Cats Home’s (ADCH) annual conference.
The ADCH’s annual conference is the biggest gathering of animal welfare organisations in the UK, over 500 staff and volunteers from the smallest volunteer-run rescues, to the larger animal charities, attended this year’s conference. PC Wardell was the conference’s keynote speaker and spoke about his work campaigning to introduce Finn’s Law – which was passed into law this month and will come into effect in June.
The heroic pair have already been in the limelight recently making appearances on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent and This Morning, to share their story and create awareness for Finn’s Law.
You can watch their interview on This Morning below:
The PC began campaigning for a change in the law in 2016 , when his German Shepherd was stabbed saving him. The duo were attempting to arrest a robbery suspect, who turned on them with a knife. Finn jumped in the way of the blade to protect PC Wardell – suffering a near-fatal stab wound to his side in the process, while his owner was stabbed in the hand.
PC Wardell was shocked when, while the attacker was charged with bodily harm for his wound, they only faced criminal damage charges for Finn’s injuries. Finn’s story was shared and it captured the public imagination. From there, the Finn’s Law campaign was born.
PC Wardell said, “Service animal are amazing. They help us all to lead better lives and yet there’s no specific legislation to protect animals in their work in the UK. This means that majority of attacks on service animals go unpunished. They go unpunished because the pieces of legislation used are unsuitable, inappropriate and – quite frankly – insulting, for the work they do. The offender was found guilty of attacking Finn, but received no penalty for what he did. The quote from the Crown Prosecution was ‘nothing for the dog.’”
“I wanted to show that I am more than just a uniform. That there is a human being under the uniform. One that feels, one that laughs, one that hurts, just the same as everyone else does. One that breaks just like you do. One that broke. I felt a lot of anger at the time about the lack of laws protecting Finn. But I tried to remain courteous throughout the campaign and to treat everyone I spoke to with respect. All of this was born out of a horrible, negative experience and I needed to find a way to find something positive from it.”
ADCH’s Chairman Claire Horton said, “PC Wardell has worked tirelessly to ensure assistance animals are properly protected. The whole animal welfare sector celebrated with him when Finn’s Law was passed earlier this month and everyone was very moved today as he shared his and Finn’s incredible story. What PC Wardell has accomplished can inspire us all, as it shows how one man and his dog can change the law and capture the hearts of a nation. It was a real privilege to have Dave and Finn with us today.”
The ADCH’s annual conference is the biggest gathering of animal welfare organisations in the UK and is held in Birmingham each year. Over 500 staff and volunteers from the smallest volunteer run rescues, to the larger animal charities, attended this year’s conference.
In addition to listening to PC Wardell’s keynote speech, attendees at the conference heard about the latest developments in animal welfare from experts in the industry. Animal behaviourists gave practical tips on providing the highest standards of care to homeless dogs and cats, while other experts talked about how to create healthy workplace cultures and fundraise for charity.
You can find out more about ADCH at www.adch.org.uk.