First prosecution made under Finn’s Law after man stabs police dog

PUBLISHED: 11:04 06 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:10 06 August 2019

Finn's Law was enacted after PD Finn was stabbed in Stevenage in 2016. Picture: PDSA

Finn's Law was enacted after PD Finn was stabbed in Stevenage in 2016. Picture: PDSA


The first person to be convicted and sent to prison under Finn’s Law has been revealed to be a 29-year-old man from Liverpool.

Daniel O'Sullivan was sentenced to 21 months at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court yesterday after admitting to attacking a police dog in July.

After waving a four-inch knife around in a shopping centre in Stoke-on-Trent last month, Staffordshire police and its dog support unit responded to the incident.

When they arrived, O'Sullivan was wielding a knife and holding a glass bottle and was threatening to stab the officers if they approached.

After refusing to drop the weapon, the court heard how Sullivan proceeded to stab a police dog twice in the head - who had to receive emergency medical treatment as a result of his injuries.

Detective Inspector Stephen Ward said: "It was lucky he [PD Audi] wasn't blinded or killed as a result of his injuries."

The prosecution for the attack against PD Audi is the first under the new Animal Welfare (Emergency Services) Act.

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Known as Finn's Law, the legislation now sees police dogs as public servants and not police property. The maximum sentence is currently six months.

The bill gained national headlines after police dog Finn was stabbed by a 16-year-old in Stevenage in October 2016 - which sparked a national campaign that eventually made its way to the House of Lords.

READ MORE: Four month detention service after police dog Finn stabbed in Stevenage

At the time, the offender was charged with criminal damage for the attack and was sentenced to eight months' detention.

PD Finn did return to work in late December, but retired in March 2017.

READ MORE: Finn's Law to become reality after campaign gets House of Lords' approval

PC Dave Wardell, the German shepherd's handler, and campaign manager Sarah Dixon brought the need for a revision of the law to national attention and North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald originally presented the bill to Parliament in 2017.

After a two-year journey, Finn's Law was written into law after being granted Royal Assent in April this year.

READ MORE: Police Constable 'emotional' after Finn's Law given Royal Assent

Fabulous Finn, the official Twitter account for PD Finn, described the conviction as "amazing news".

In a tweet, they commented: "This is a big thanks to all of you who helped with the campaign."

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