A leading welfare VN is calling on veterinary colleagues to sign a petition giving protected status to police dogs and horses.
The call by Shakira Miles comes after a police dog – a seven-year-old German shepherd dog called Finn – was stabbed to the head and chest during an attack in Stevenage.
His handler was also injured in the incident, which occurred when the duo was responding to an armed robbery.
Dubbed “Finn’s Law”, the petition calls for support animals to have equal rights to officers if assaulted in duty.
Finn survived after four hours of emergency treatment. Handler PC Dave Wardell suffered a hand injury.
Police dogs and horses only have “property” status. Therefore, if Finn’s Law was to pass, a suspect would be charged with assault or attempted murder, rather than criminal damage.
Miss Miles said: “Police-trained dogs and horses are at high risk and we, as animal advocates, must award them with the credibility and protection from harm they deserve.
“The domino effect of having true police officer protection shows we do not tolerate harm with a reflective punishment – any person willing to inflict similar injury on an animal and/or person must be punished appropriately.”
A 16-year-old boy from Lewisham, south-east London, has been charged with assaulting PC Wardell and criminal damage with regards to Finn’s injuries.
The petition, set up by David Burstow on 10 October, is available to sign on the Government’s petition website.
More than 120,000 people have signed already, and Parliament is set to debate the petition on 14 November.
- Read more about the campaign in November’s VN Times.