Protect Police Dogs
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In Northern Ireland, hundreds of service animals work daily to keep us safe, whether sniffer dogs, police dogs and horses they all work with the same dedication to duty as the men and women in our Police force.
Unfortunately, in Northern Ireland, our laws don't protect them the same way and currently, the law views a Police animal as little more than property.
This means that if an animal is assaulted or attacked in the line of duty, the assailant is likely to receive a punishment akin to breaking a window.
It happens. Police dog Finn was seriously injured while protecting handler, PC Wardell as he tried to arrest a suspect. Finn saved PC Wardell's life but was so seriously injured that he had to undergo four hours of emergency surgery. The suspect was charged with aggravated bodily harm for the officer's injuries but only criminal damage for the horrific injuries to Finn. They are campaigning hard in England, Scotland & Wales for a change in the law: www.finnslaw.com ; @finnforchange
This is unacceptable and it is time we did something to ensure that anyone attacking a police animal is punished appropriately and animals be given protection that reflects their status if assaulted in the line of duty.
This campaign aims to persuade the Northern Ireland Government to introduce a new criminal offence of harming or killing a service animal. This would adequately punish those who harm trained animals like dogs and horses who serve the police, fire service, military or other public services. It could also cover assistance animals like guide dogs.
Introducing a criminal offence of causing injury to police animals will ensure criminals who attack police animals are dealt with effectively, raise awareness of the severity of the crime and deter further attacks.
Ultimately this gives service animals the legal protection they deserve and goes some, small way, to saying thank you for their dedicated service.
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