Following a recent push from animal right activists, many police units are now providing new body armour and ID cards for service dogs on the front line. The aim is to show these animals are ‘as valued as their human colleagues’.
New animal welfare laws designed to protect service dogs from increased violence from criminals have led to Staffordshire police force being the first in the country to have animal body armour. This protects the dogs from knives, bullets, spikes and impact from blunt instruments. Cheshire police force is providing their dogs with individual ID takes to emphasise these animals are ‘part of the team’.
The introduction of Finn’s Law in 2019 prevents those who attack or injure service animals from claiming self-defence. The law was named after Finn who was stabbed while protecting his handler PC David Wardell. A crime of this nature can now carry a sentence of up to five years.
Dave Kelsall, Chief Inspector and head of Staffordshire’s armed dog support unit, stated ‘police dogs are part of our policing family, one of the team, and as such, should be seen and valued the same as our police officers’.
With an estimated 2500 police dogs now employed in the UK alone its encouraging to know they are finally receiving the protection they deserve and that their status is being elevated to the level of their human counter-parts.