Police dog Finn to receive animals' George Cross after Stevenage heroism
PUBLISHED: 10:22 15 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:22 15 March 2018
Hero police dog Finn, who was almost killed by a suspect who stabbed him in Stevenage, is to receive the animals' George Cross for his bravery.
Despite being grievously injured, Finn refused to let go of the suspect, who was arrested and subsequently prosecuted. His actions also saved the life of his handler, PC Dave Wardell.
Now Finn will formally receive the PDSA Gold Medal in May, in the first public presentation of such an award.
German Shepherd Finn and his handler PC Dave Wardell were chasing a suspect at night in Stevenage in October 2016 when both were attacked by a suspect with a 10-inch combat knife, who was trying to vault a fence.
“The man then lunged at me with the blade but Finn, despite being seriously hurt, grabbed hold of the suspect and stopped him from landing a fatal blow,” said PC Wardell.
“My hand was cut in the struggle and Finn’s head was sliced open.
“Despite suffering two serious stab wounds, Finn’s grip on the suspect remained – pulling at the suspect’s leg to stop him from jumping the fence.”
Finn’s constant grip enabled PC Wardell to wrestle the suspect to the ground, where he dropped the weapon and PC Wardell handcuffed him. Finn was rushed off for life-saving open-chest surgery.
“Finn’s determination, even after he’d been seriously hurt, was absolutely faultless. He definitely saved my life that night and stopped an armed criminal from posing a threat to other officers or the public,” said PC Wardell.
“I am bursting with pride that Finn is receiving this award – he is a true gem and embodies everything that is special about police dogs in this country. He is my best friend and I owe him my life.”
Finn staged a remarkable recovery after that night in Stevenage, and was declared fit for duty just weeks later. He has since retired and is now the Wardell family pet.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare last year named Finn Animal of the Year. His story captured the nation’s hearts and inspired the #Finnslaw campaign for better legal protection for service animals.
Herts chief constable Charlie Hall and police and crime commisioner David Lloyd jointly nominated PD Finn for the award, and have both said they are extremely proud.
The chief constable said: “Finn’s story highlights the vital role that these animals play in our society and the dangers that our officers face on a daily basis. I am thrilled that Finn’s actions are being recognised.”
Mr Lloyd added: “Finn’s horrific injuries and the bravery he showed that night lit a fire in the hearts of the British public. His award is a fitting recognition for his heroic actions that night.”
Finn will be formally presented with his PDSA Gold Medal at the charity’s PetLife ’18 festival at Cheltenham Racecourse on Sunday, May 6. He is the 28th recipient of the medal.