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Sunday, March 26, 2023

Finn handler PC David Wardell investigated over dog welfare

Beat Media/Kennel Club

An officer whose police dog was almost killed when confronting an armed teenager is under investigation over police dog welfare issues.

PC Dave Wardell was stabbed in the hand but protected by German shepherd Finn, now retired, during the attack in 2016.

Finn won several bravery awards and the incident led to changes in the law over assaults on service animals.

Hertfordshire Police said the professional standards department was investigating the officer’s conduct.

“We can confirm that Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Professional Standards Department is currently investigating an officer’s conduct with regards to police dog welfare issues,” they added.

“The officer is not suspended but is on restricted duties.

“The police dogs in question are being looked after elsewhere.”

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  • Stabbed police dog ‘still thinks he’s on the job’
  • Police dog Finn’s law comes into force

Finn battled back from life-threatening injuries to his head and chest in the incident in Stevenage.

A 16-year-old boy from London was detained for eight months over the attack.

After their recovery the pair returned to duty until Finn’s retirement in 2017, at the age of eight.

They appeared on TV shows, including Britain’s Got Talent, and campaigned for Finn’s law, which came into force in 2019 as an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

The legislation makes it harder for those who harm service animals to claim they were acting in self-defence.

It was followed by another successful campaign, in 2021, to increase the maximum sentence for cruelty to animals from six months to five years.

The Wardell family and a friend started their own charity – the Thin Blue Paw Foundation – which supports both serving and retired police dogs, and of which Finn is an ambassador.

“He [Finn] has always been my hero, and I honestly don’t know what I would do without him there by my side,” PC Wardell previously told the BBC.

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Related Internet Links

  • Thin Blue Paw Foundation

  • Beds, Cambs and Herts Police Dog Unit

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