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Case Studies

First use of police dog law

Staffordshire Police Commissioner Matthew Ellis has welcomed the sentencing of the first person to be prosecuted for attacking a police dog under Finn’s Law. Staffordshire Police dog Audi was stabbed twice in the head and required emergency medical treatment after he and his handler PC Karl Mander responded to reports of a man with a knife in Hanley on July 1, 2019.

His attacker Daniel O’Sullivan was sentenced on August 5 to a total of 21 months, with three months to be served for injuring a police dog. The prosecution for the attack against PD Audi is the first under the new Animal Welfare (Emergency Services) Act. Known as Finn’s Law, it now recognises police dogs as public servants and not just police property. The maximum sentence is six months.

Finn’s Law is named after a police dog who was stabbed on duty in Hertfordshire in 2016. The aim; to prevent those who attack police dogs from claiming self-defence.

Just weeks after PD Finn and his handler were stabbed and seriously injured, Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime Matthew Ellis called for a change in the law to offer greater protection to courageous service animals.

Matthew Ellis said: “Police dogs are not only incredible and beautiful animals but are also there to protect and serve the public. It is absolutely right that there is a strong deterrent to harming not just police officers, but police dogs as well, and I’m delighted that PD Audi is back on duty.”


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