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Finn's Law receives Royal Assent

View profile for Lisa Cox
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Last month I was overjoyed to learn the news that Finn’s Law has received Royal Assent and will soon come into force. The new law, formally known as the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act 2019, means that causing unnecessary suffering to a service animal will be a criminal offence in England and Wales.

In case you are unfamiliar with his story, Finn is a police dog who defended his handler, Dave, from a robbery suspect who attacked them whilst being chased down. Finn sustained serious stab wounds to his chest and head while protecting Dave. Most crucially, his attacker stabbed him through his lungs and he was not expected to make it through the night. Despite the vicious attack, the brave dog did not let go of his attacker throughout the ordeal. Naturally, there was outrage when the attacker was charged with ABH for the injury to Dave’s hand, but only criminal damage for the life-threatening injuries he inflicted on Finn.                                                       

As an animal lover, I was horrified to learn that there was no specific offence for causing injury to the police animals who are injured when carrying out their duties. As a fellow German Shepherd owner, I couldn’t help picturing my girl in Finn’s position. To know that our legal system would treat her the same as a police radio infuriated me. Police dogs put themselves on the line to keep us safe, whether it be taking down a suspect or helping find a missing person. This is why it is so important for us to make sure that if someone harms them then there will be consequences.

Whilst what happened to Finn is abhorrent, I am glad to see that a victory for animal rights has been made as a result of his bravery. Good boy Finn.

I am based in our Colchester office and can be contacted on 01206 217307 or lisa.cox@birkettlong.co.uk.

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