Finns Law – The Animal Welfare Bill
On the 5th of October 2016, Police Dog Finn risked his life to jump in front of a 10-inch knife which was about to hit his dad, Dave Wardell, he risked his life and was very lucky to survive after severe life-threatening injuries. Unfortunately, due to a loop-hole in the law, Dave and Finn's attacker got off with a criminal damage charge with no sentence and did not have to face the repercussions of his crime. Sadly this seemed to be quite normal among police Dogs and other service animals who risk their lives every day. Service animals play an integral part in the police force so Dave and Finn decided they were going to fight for their justice in a court of law. After Finns attack it only took a matter of days to feature in regional and national news which gave this terrible story the publicity it needed to start a petition. On the 10th of October, a petition was created on the parliament website to ‘Give status to Police Dogs and Horses as ‘Police Officers’. Within 12 hours the petition had over 10,000 signatures. By 11 PM on the 11th, the petition had reached over 25,000 signatures and after just 11 days the petition reached 100,000 signatures which mean it was going to be taken to parliament.
The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill had been published in Parliament by Sir Oliver Heald MP and was scheduled for a second reading on Friday the 15th of June 2018 as the first reading was objected by Sir Christopher Chope. This legislation ‘Finns Law’ will remove a section of the current law of self-defence, often used by those who harm a service animal. This change, coupled with the government’s plans to increase maximum sentences for animal cruelty offences to five years in prison, will make sure those who harm service animals are punished accordingly. Thankfully this passed through parliament with no objections. This meant we were one step closer to giving these dogs the recognition and defence they deserve for all their hard work.
Finn's law then headed to committee stage. On the 2nd of April 2019, The Animal Welfare bill had its third reading in the House of Lords and thankfully passed. This leaves the Bill to go forward to Royal Assent for a final reading with the Queen. Thanks to Dave and Finn, not only are they changing the law but Finn is also the ambassador of the German Shepherd Rescue Elite charity. We will be supporting this charity through Finn’s Store and giving 10% of our proceeds to them. Finn has a massive influence in social media and has thousands of supporters from around the world and his story has touched the hearts of many.