Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa today welcomed the advance of new legislation protecting service animals after force police dog Axle was injured on duty.
The PCC described the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill as a vital addition to British law which would reflect the gravity of attacks on service animals such as police dogs and ensure just punishment for those responsible.
He was speaking days after force police dog Axle received stab wounds while attending an incident in the Amber Valley area. He has since been treated for his injuries and is recovering well at home.
The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill recently passed unopposed at the second reading stage in the House of Commons and has received the backing of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), bringing it one step closer to reality.
The Bill, put forward by North East Hertfordshire MP Sir Oliver Heald in response to the injury of police dog Finn who was stabbed during a pursuit, will remove a section of the current law of self-defence often used by those who harm a service animal and increase the maximum sentence available to five years in prison.
Commenting on the progress, Mr Dhindsa said: “This vital legislation is urgently needed to protect hardworking police dogs like Axle who confront danger on a daily basis to keep us safe.
“There is strong public support for Finn’s Law and I’m pleased the Government has listened by ensuring this Bill has a smooth passage through Parliament.
“This incident is yet another reminder of the risk of violence all our service animals and police officers face in the course of their duties. All those tasked with protecting the public in the name of the force – including our police dogs – deserve the highest respect for their deeds and this law will help to do that.
“I understand that PD Axel is recovering well and I echo the thanks of police colleagues for all the messages of support and donations made by the people of Derbyshire following this attack. I hope this law will protect many more police dogs risking their lives to keep our towns and cities safe.”
Posted on Monday 9th July 2018