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This Westminster Hall debate is being held in response to an e-petition uploaded onto Parliament’s petitions website which attracted over the required 100,000 signatures to be considered for a debate.

The petition, entitled Give status to Police Dogs and Horses as ‘Police Officers’, followed the stabbing of a police dog named Finn who was chasing a suspect.  The dog’s handler was also injured. 

The petition calls for police dogs and horses to be “given protection that reflects their status”. This call for what has been dubbed “Finn’s Law” in the press refers to the United States Federal Law Enforcement Animal Protection Act, which prohibits wilfully or maliciously harming a police animal.

In response to similar petition in 2014, the previous Government said that the existing laws were adequate.

Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes it an offence to cause an animal unnecessary suffering.  The maximum sentence is six months imprisonment or an unlimited fine or both. The maximum fine was increased from £20,000 in 2015.

An animal may also be classed as property capable of being “damaged or destroyed” under the terms of the Criminal Damage Act 1971.

Documents to download

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