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29th Apr 2021

Animal Welfare Bill for tougher sentences on animal cruelty becomes law today

Charlie Herbert

‘Finn’s Law’ will take the maximum sentence for animal cruelty to five years in prison

A bill calling for tougher punishments and sentencing for those found guilty of committing animal cruelty will receive Royal Assent and become law today.

Brought forward by Tory MP Chris Loder and spearheaded by ex-police officer Dave Wardell and his dog Finn, the Bill will mean that those found guilty of charges related to animal cruelty in England and Wales could face up to five years imprisonment. Previously the maximum penalty for animal cruelty was six months in prison and an unlimited fine.

The Bill is also known as Finn’s Law, after a police dog that was stabbed while working.

Finn and his owner Dave Wardell are both trustees of The Thin Blue Paw foundation, which is a charity that provides financial support to families who adopt retired police dogs.

Dave launched the Finn’s Law campaign after his 11-year-old German Shepherd was stabbed in the head and chest in October 2016 whilst he protected Dave from a man wielding a knife.

Luckily Finn survived and the new Bill comes in two parts. The first part of Finn’s Law urges for more government assistance for people looking after service animals like Finn.

The second part requests harsher sentences for individuals who commit animal cruelty.

Per Tyla, Dave said in a statement: “I’m overjoyed that Finn’s Law Part 2, or the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill, has passed all of the stages and will be passed into law following Royal assent.

“When this new bill comes into force later this year it’ll mean that our beloved animals will be better protected and courts will have greater powers to impose longer prison sentences for those who commit horrific cruelty and abuse.

“I am so thrilled that Finn’s traumatic ordeal has paved the way for change and that his legacy will be making a difference in animals’ lives for decades to come.”

Animal cruelty is a devolved matter across the UK, so the Scottish and Northern Irish governments have their own punishments for animal cruelty offences.