Conservative MP Sir Christopher Chope sparked outrage after blocking a new law to criminalise upskirting on Friday 15 June, shouting ‘object’ during its second reading. It wasn’t the only bill he blocked that day: in the same session, he also blocked Finn’s Law.
Named after former police dog Finn, who was severely injured in a knife attack in October 2016 along with his handler, PC David Wardell, the bill would have increased punishments for attacking police dogs and horses. At the moment injuring or even killing a police dog can only be treated as criminal damage, much like breaking the window of a police car – treating service animals as nothing more than tools.
POLICE DOG FINN: ONE YEAR ONIt was last October that Finn, a working police dog was critically stabbed in the line of duty. The heroic German Shepherd and his handler PC Wardell chased down and caught a suspect fleeing the scene but whist detaining him they were both stabbed with a 12 inch serrated hunting knife. Finn was stabbed in the head and chest, damaging vital organs. He was rushed to Roebuck vets in Stevenage where his wounds were dressed and he was stabilised before being transferred to Davies for emergency surgery.Watch Finn’s story in this video created by Davies surgeon Rob Adams.Later this week watch out for our interview with soft tissue surgeon Rob Adams about the Finn case.
Posted by Davies Veterinary Specialists on Monday, 2 October 2017
Finn, who survived the incident and has since retired to live with his handler, had his bravery recognised nationwide, becoming the recipient of a PDSA Gold Medal for his outstanding devotion. He quickly became the face of a campaign to give service dogs better protection, with the petition calling for Finn’s Law quickly smashing its target.
As long as nobody objects, bills brought on the last day of the week can be waved through without full discussion – though they would still be subject to Commons debate and scrutiny later in the process. Backed by the government, Finn’s Law seemed set to pass until Sir Chope’s objection. The bill is to be discussed again on 6 July and, despite the setback, PC David Wardell is optimistic on the outcome.
Don't be dismayed guys. This is politics. We are back on 6th July. We will get there. #FinnsLawFriday
— Finn for change (@Davewardell) June 15, 2018
Don’t worry guys we are very positive, at this stage there is no need for any emails or letters to MP’s. Government is backing us now, so roll on 6th July 🐾👍#Finnslaw #FinnForChange #FabulousFinn #FinnsLawFriday pic.twitter.com/cwrDqizart
— Fabulous Finn (@K9Finn) June 15, 2018
The bill is going to be discussed, again, on a Friday, and will be just as vulnerable to last-minutes objections. Here’s hoping that common sense prevails, so that we can report progress next month.