Police animals do not need to be given same legal status as
We are putting police dogs and horses on the same level as police cars and riot vansConservative MP David Mackintosh The proposed Finn’s law is named after a Hertfordshire police dog who needed surgery after being stabbed several times while chasing an armed suspect.Responding to the petition the Home Office said those who assault animals can already receive a penalty of up to 10 years in jail. A statement said: “Under some circumstances assaults on support animals could be treated as criminal damage, allowing for penalties of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.”An additional offence dealing specifically with attacks on police animals may not result in more prosecutions or increased sentences.”But Conservative MP David Mackintosh, who is presenting the debate on Monday as he sits on the Petitions Committee, said the law should reflect the status “of our brave and courageous animals”.He said: “When you look at their current status, assaults on police dogs and horses are treated in the same way as criminal damage. “We are putting police dogs and horses on the same level as police cars and riot vans, and I think that’s wrong.”This should be looked at in a way that reflects the status of our brave and courageous animals who help us fight against criminality.”In some parts of the US attacks on dogs are treated the same as attacks on their human handlers.Mr Mackintosh said ministers should look at giving greater protection to animals, although he said there would be problems giving them the same status as humans. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Police animals do not necessarily need to be given the same legal status as officers who are injured on duty, the Government has suggested ahead of a parliamentary debate on the issue on Monday. The proposed law, which would cover police dogs and horses, is set to be debated after more than 100,000 people signed a petition. Under current rules criminals who attack police animals are prosecuted for causing criminal damage, but campaigners want the creatures to be given the same status as injured officers.