New laws to protect police dogs and horses come into force today.
The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act, known as Finn’s Law, will prevent those who attack or injure service animals from claiming self-defence.
And it means causing unnecessary suffering to a service animal will be a specific offence.
The law is named after a police dog Finn who was stabbed along with his handler, PC David Wardell, while they chased a man suspected of robbing a taxi driver at gunpoint in Stevenage, Herts, in 2016.
PC Wardell said: “The last two-and-a-half years have been quite a journey of discovery for Finn and me.
“We decided that we just had to bring change to make sure our amazing service animals, including police dogs and horses, had protection in law.
“We wanted to bring as much positive from that one negative as we could.”
It caps an action-packed week for Finn and PC Wardell, who reached the final of Britain’s Got Talent last Sunday.
The officer demonstrated the dog’s skills as a magician where one of his tricks included picking a card which would later be chosen by BGT judge David Walliams .
Singing Chelsea Pensioner Colin Thackery scooped the £250,000 winner’s prize after his moving performance of Love Changes Everything.
German shepherd Finn sustained serious knife wounds to the chest and head, but only criminal damage charges could be brought against his attacker – sparking a campaign for a shake-up.
Conservative MP Sir Oliver Heald was given permission to bring in the Bill in 2017.
It went through its parliamentary stages and Finn was in the public gallery and barked as the Bill was passed in the Lords in April.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said last night(FRI): “This law is about giving our service animals the protection they deserve as they dedicate their lives to keeping us safe.
“I am committed to making the UK the best place in the world for the care and protection of animals.”