Upwell woman 'shocked' after petition to reclassify status of police dogs reaches over 30,000 signatures in just 24 hours

PUBLISHED: 16:37 12 October 2016 | UPDATED: 16:37 12 October 2016

Police dog Finn required emergency surgery after he was stabbed last week.

Police dog Finn required emergency surgery after he was stabbed last week.

Archant

An Upwell woman is backing a campaign to have the status of police dogs and horses made equal to that of police officers following the stabbing of a police dog and his handler in Stevenage.

PC David Wardell and Finn.PC David Wardell and Finn.

Victoria Dawkins has been busy circulating the campaign after her friend, PC David Wardell, and police dog Finn were attacked by a 16-year-old boy in the Hertfordshire town last week.

Finn required emergency surgery after he was left with serious injuries to his head and since then a petition has been launched to try to get parliament to act so anyone who attacks police dogs would face criminal charges similar to those for attacking a person.

Victoria posted the petition on Facebook post yesterday evening – and the number signing it since then has more than doubled, reaching over 31,000.

She said: “When I wrote the post, it was principally because I was upset and frustrated by the injuries Finn has received and how they’re viewed by the Crown Prosecution Service and the Government, not by the police.

“I have to add, every police officer I’ve ever known knows exactly how important police canines and equines are.

“PD Finn received stab wounds to his head, and also his chest. The stab wound to his chest perforated his lung by eight inches, and required complex surgery that resulted in the loss of part of his lung in order to save his life - the offence against him was only classed as criminal damage.”

She added: “I’m shocked and really pleased it has taken off in the way it has. The more people become aware of what our police officers and their canine colleagues face on a daily basis the better in my opinion.”

Many people took to social media to ask why the charge for Finn’s stabbing was one of criminal damage and not assault or attempted murder, but under current laws dogs are treated as property.

The petition has been signed by people in all but one of the UK political constituencies, and is just shy of reaching 32,000 signatures.

If the petition reaches its target of 100,000, it has to be considered for debate in the House of Commons and could become law.

The petition can be viewed at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/168678.

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