Under U.S Code if a person “willfully and maliciously” attempts to harm, harms or conspires to harm a police dog they can be fined and imprisoned for up to 1 year. If they disable, disfigure, cause serious bodily harm to the dog or kill the dog, the person can be imprisoned for up to 10 years. The U.S. is fairly serious about the protection of dogs that they have spent time, money and effort training but in places like the U.K. there are very few protections in place for these dogs or service animals in general. In fact, in the U.K there is no specific offense for the harm of the police dog, the dogs putting their lives on the line daily to defend and protect. People who harm or kill police dogs are charged with Criminal Damage, which marks them merely as property, and doesn’t carry nearly a harsh enough sentence for the crime. Finn is a police dog, he is highly trained and decorated, Finn is a good boy and on October 5, 2016 in an attempted arrest Finn was repeatedly stabbed in the chest and head. Finn sustained life-threatening injuries, veterinarians spent 4 hours in surgery saving Finn’s life. After 11 weeks of recovery Finn was back at it, just in time for retirement. Finn is not the only police dog attacked, in fact in the U.K it’s happening daily but because there is no specific offense it is hard to prosecute in court. Finn’s case is extreme and a group of volunteers have stepped up to speak up for the dogs, like Finn, that are injured defending the law. Some headway has been made in the form of new sentencing guidelines and while something is better than nothing, these sentencing guidelines are not for the offense of injuring the police dog but merely taken into account as an aggravating factor for when the judge deems a sentence. Finn nearly died taking a knife meant for his handler Police Officer David Wardell and he deserves to be considered as more than just damaged property, he deserves his sacrifice to mean more than just adding time to a sentence, he deserves his own defense laws. These wonderful people at Finn’s Law are looking to change legislation with their campaign, and are broadly asking for laws that defend all service animals; they are fighting for the dogs that would die for them.
Here are a few articles with pictures, so you can see and read more about wonderful Finn.