Police Dogs and Horses along with all working dogs are this morning waking up to the news that if they are assaulted on duty they will no longer be treated as criminal damage in the eyes of the law.
Now that the queen has approved The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill, which makes it an offence to harm working animals,
The announcement was made in the House of Lords late last night. The Bill will now be known as the ‘Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act 2019.’
Police Constable Dave Wardell and his team have campaigned for two years to change the law after Finn was stabbed on duty while protecting his handler PC Wardell in Stevenage in 2016.
Thanks to the teams hard work and relentless campaigning and appearances the government announced that they planned to increase the maximum sentences for animal abusers from six months to five years.
Fast forward to August 2018 was the introduction of a bill known as Finns Law which aimed to recognise service animals within Law as the offender who attacked Finn was only charged with Criminal Damage despite Finn being left fighting for his life.
This then passed through the House of Commons and the House of Lords and has now received Royal Assent from the Queen making it law.
The official Law
Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act
An Act to amend the Animal Welfare Act 2006 in relation to service animals.
[8th April 2019]
E IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—
1 Harming a service animal
(1) The Animal Welfare Act 2006 is amended as follows.
(2) In section 4 (offence of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal), after subsection (3) insert—
“(3A) In determining for the purposes of subsection (1) whether suffering is unnecessary in a case where it was caused by conduct for a purpose mentioned in subsection
(3)(c)(ii), the fact that the conduct was for that purpose is to be disregarded if—
(a) the animal was under the control of a relevant officer at the time
of the conduct,
(b) it was being used by that officer at that time, in the course of the
officer’s duties, in a way that was reasonable in all the
(c) that officer is not the defendant.
(3B) In subsection (3A) “relevant officer” means—
(a) a constable;
(b) a person (other than a constable) who has the powers of a
constable or is otherwise employed for police purposes or is
engaged to provide services for police purposes;
2 Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act 2019 (c. 15)
c) a prisoner custody officer within the meaning of Part 4 of the
Criminal Justice Act 1991.
(3C) The Secretary of State may by regulations amend subsection (3B).
Only a person in the public service of the Crown may be specified in
(3B) by virtue of regulations under this subsection.”
(3) In section 61(2) (regulations subject to affirmative resolution procedure), after “section 1(3),” insert “4(3C),”.
2 Extent, commencement and short title
(1) This Act extends to England and Wales only.
(2) This Act comes into force at the end of the period of two months beginning
with the day on which it is passed.
(3) This Act may be cited as the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act 2019.