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10/09/2021

Council supports introduction of Finn's Law

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council is supporting the introduction of Finn’s Law, which will prevent those who attack or injure service animals from claiming self-defence.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has shared its views on the proposed introduction of Finn’s Law to Northern Ireland. The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill, known as Finn’s Law, will prevent those who attack or injure service animals from claiming self-defence and is named after Finn, a police dog who was stabbed whilst pursuing a suspect with his handler. Finn sustained serious stab wounds to the chest and head but due to the legislation at the time of the attack, only criminal damage charges could be brought against his attacker. Following the attack, amendments were made to Animal Welfare legislation in England and Wales, affording additional protections for service animals.

The Council has recently responded to a consultation from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), expressing its desire to see Finn’s Law introduced in Northern Ireland which would see an increase in the penalty for causing unnecessary suffering to a service animal. If adopted, the proposed changes to the legislation will also allow for other service animals to be given additional protection.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb said;

“I was pleased that we were able to give our full support to this consultation. The Council gives a high priority to the welfare of animals and is committed to ensuring those who harm animals are punished accordingly. The introduction of Finn’s Law in Northern Ireland will give our service animals the protection they deserve as they dedicate their lives to keeping us safe.”

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