A petition launched following the stabbing of a Herts police dog was debated in the House of Commons today after it attracted more than 121,000 signatures.
The campaign calls for better protection of police dogs and a change to the law – similar to US Federal Law Enforcement Animal Protection.
It comes after Finn, a German shepherd, was stabbed while he and his handler, PC Dave Wardell, pursued a suspect in Stevenage last month.
Finn underwent emergency surgery and is now recovering but the stabbing struck a chord with thousands of people.
The petition was due to be debated in Parliament today with Herts Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd meeting with Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service, Brandon Lewis, at the Home Office.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Lloyd said: “I’m pleased the minister is listening to the concerns of the large number of people who signed this petition.
“People are not happy about the way the current laws refer to animals as ‘property’ and it’s clear the courts are not always prosecuting offences to the full extent available to them.”
He added: “Whether a new law is needed is up to parliament to decide. If, however, the current system is to be used we must ensure the Sentencing Council impress on prosecutors the serious nature of these crimes.
“Attacking a police animal should not be treated in the same way as damaging a police car.
“The public clearly think the same, and the fact PD Finn’s brave actions have prompted this response shows how much the public care about our animals important contribution to policing.”
The current arrangements mean those who injure animals are prosecuted under criminal damage and animal cruelty laws.
Mr Lloyd has also announced that Finn will be put forward for the prestigious PDSA Gold award, known as the George Cross of animal awards.
A 16-year-old boy from London has been charged with the assault of the officer and criminal damage relating to the dog attack.