News

Animal Welfare Bill will protect service animals

Published: 07 Sep 2019 00:01

Minister meets Finn the police dog.

New legislation is to be introduced to provide more protection for service animals such as police dogs and horses, otherwise known as Finns Law.

Minister for Rural Affairs Mairi Gougeon met Finn and his owner police handler David Wardell.

In 2016, whilst chasing a suspect who was armed with a knife, Finn was viciously stabbed while protecting Mr Wardell. 

Despite the near-fatal injuries inflicted on Finn, the suspect could only be charged with criminal damage and punished with a small fine. New laws will mean the potential for greater prison sentences and unlimited fines for the worst instances of animal cruelty, as well as removing the option of claiming self-defence for attacks on service animals.    

Ms Gougeon said:

“Like so many of our service animals, Finn selflessly put himself in the way of danger in order to protect us and was very nearly killed in the process.

“Thankfully he survived and, after some equally tenacious campaigning from Dave, they were able to have the law changed in England to provide service animals with the protection they deserve.

“This week’s Programme for Government announced that the Scottish Government is set to create new legislation to further protect animals and wildlife, which will include an increase in the maximum available penalties for the worst offences, and includes implementing Finn’s Law.”