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Finn’s Law comes into effect

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Picture of police dog lying down. The London Eye and the Houses of Parliament are in the backdrop.

There has been widespread positive coverage over the weekend on BBC News, ITV News, Daily Mail, Sky News, LADBible and, among others, following the news that the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill, known as Finn’s Law, came into effect  on Saturday 8 June.

This new legislation will make sure that those who harm service animals – such a police dogs and horses – are properly punished for their crimes and are not able to claim self-defence.

It is named after Finn, a police dog who was stabbed while pursuing a suspect with his handler PC David Wardell. Finn sustained serious stab wounds to the chest and head, but only criminal damage charges could be brought against his attacker.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

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.

Congratulations to all those who have campaigned to make Finn’s Law a reality and to Sir Oliver Heald for campaigning for this from the start.

You can find out more about Finn’s story by watching this video of Finn and his handler PC Dave Wardell.

This law coming into force follows the recent introduction of legislation in Parliament to achieve Lucy’s Law. This will ban the third-party sales of puppies and kittens and, alongside our other reforms, will help to cement the UK’s position as a global leader on animal welfare.

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  1. Comment by Mari Fleming posted on

    Thank you for all the work you have done thus far for animal welfare, but to bring our standards up to those of Australia, Canada and some US States all our animals need the increase of custodial sentencing to the already agreed five years to be an effective deterent to animal abusers.

  2. Comment by Gail posted on

    Please now increase the sentencing to 5 years from 6 months #FinnsLawPart2
    We have waited 2 years!
    Thank you

  3. Comment by Claire champion posted on

    Thank you so much for supporting #FinnsLaw. Please can you follow up on Michael Goves promise to Finn that the penalty would be increased to 5 years as with the scrapping of the 6 month sentence a lot of the cases would be unpunished. Please give your support to #FinnsLawPart2.

  4. Comment by J Stafford posted on

    Please remember Finns Law part 2 and increase the penalty to 5 years as soon as possible.

  5. Comment by Debra King posted on

    We are grateful that Finns Law has been passed within the AWA but would like to see the increase in maximum sentencing increased to 5 years from the current 6 months which if the plan to scrap these low sentencesxwill mean there will be no punishment. We do not want these service animals to be regarded as property under the Criminal Damage Act just so that a sentence is available.

  6. Comment by Sarah Dixon posted on

    Finns Law has no meaning if it is not backed up with a meaningful sentence. On 7th October 2017, the Secretary of State promised to increase sentencing ten-fold. This promise has consistently been re-stated but no real progress has been made. The time for talking is passed. The time for action is now. The wave of support for this increase is growing rapidly. The need for the increase is demonstrated daily in the media. Without the increase, the message being sent is clear and it is wrong. Animal abuse must not be allowed to continue any longer without accountability. Only today, a suspended sentence was delivered for throwing live fox cubs into a pack of hounds to literally be torn apart. This is inhumane. It lays at your door to be pro-active and stand up for those whose protection and welfare fall under your remit.

  7. Comment by Mick Bland posted on

    Thank you for your support of #FinnsLaw. However it will not become fully effective unless the promised increased sentencing is made a reality. Please make the proposed increase in sentencing a priority, help us give #FinnsLawPart2 some teeth! Make all the hard work done so far worthwhile! Thank you , it will be worth it for all animals ?

  8. Comment by Cheryl posted on

    Can we now please get sentences increased from 6 months to at least 5 years before it’s too late? If 6 month sentences are scrapped as planned this summer then no one will receive a prison sentence for these shocking animal welfare cases. Surely that’s not right and it’s definitely not what everyone wants to happen?!

  9. Comment by Kaye Nightingale posted on

    Thank you for supporting Finn's Law.

    Please now take the required action to ensure that FinnsLawPart2 becomes a reality as soon as possible (i.e. without any undue delay) to honour the government's pledge to increase sentences (on all animal welfare cases) from 6 months to 5 years. This is imperative.

    There are too many cases of animal cruelty, neglect and mis-treatment happening and the increase in sentencing might be the deterrent that is needed.

    Anything less than introducing FinnsLawPart2 would be a betrayal of the commitment made. Please make sure that this pledge is honoured, as soon as possible. Thank you.

  10. Comment by Mick Bland posted on

    Thank you for your support of #FinnsLaw , now to make it effective we need the promise to increase the sentences for all animal cruelty cases to become a reality! Otherwise all the hard work already done will be for nothing and any cases with Service Animals would possibly be reverted to Criminal Damage and we know that this would not be good as in the case of now retired PD Finn. Please make the increase in sentencing a priority, please make #FinnsLawPart2 happen!! Thank you ?

  11. Comment by Lynne Ellis posted on

    Thank you for your support of Finn's Law. Please now continue with your promise of increased sentencing to 5 years for all animal welfare cases. This is critical when we are hearing daily of some awful animal abuse. We need Finn's Law Part 2. Thank you.

  12. Comment by Finn’s Law Ltd posted on

    “I am committed to making the UK the best place in the world for the care and protection of animals.”
    From Oct 2017 “Around 1,150 people per year are convicted for #AnimalCruelty. Up until now the maximum sentence anyone can receive is six months in jail.
    We believe that offenders should be adequately punished for these abhorrent acts, and plan to increase the maximum sentence tenfold to five years. This is one part of our plan to deliver world-leading standards of animal welfare in the years ahead.”

    All your quotes words Mr Gove, 22 months later we are still waiting for your promised #IncreaseTo5 years. When will you put the Animal Cruelty (Sentencing) Bill in front of Parliament? When will you uphold your promise for the sake of all our animals? They are still being abused and it’s getting worse. Abolish 6 months and less custodial sentences and they will literally get a slap of the wrist, do you honestly think this is leading the world standard of animal welfare?

  13. Comment by Lauren Walker posted on

    I Thankyou for supporting Finns law I look forward to you going ahead with your promise of increasing the sentencing for animal cruelty cases from six months to five years I once again Thankyou for supporting Finns law and look forward to you increasing those sentences

  14. Comment by Cheryl Guiver posted on

    Thank you for supporting Finn's Law. With the proposed scrapping of 6 month prison terms, this would mean that even the most serious animal cruelty cases would go unpunished. Please now follow up on your promise to increase sentences from 6 months to 5 years. We need Finn's Law Part 2.

  15. Comment by mark john hauser posted on

    we do require part 2 of finns law pls