Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Finn named ‘Hero Animal of the Year’
"He means the world to me. He's like a son," says handler PC Wardell.
Police dog’s bravery recognised after he was stabbed on duty

A police dog who was stabbed on duty last year has been named Hero Animal of the Year for his outstanding courage in the face of a crisis.

The Animal Hero Awards were held in London on Thursday (7 September), celebrating inspiring acts of bravery, dedication and resilience.

PC Dave Wardell and German shepherd Finn were on a normal shift when they were called to a suspected armed robbery in Stevenage last October. Finn caught up with the teenage suspect as he tried to escape over the wall, took hold of his leg and pulled him to the floor.

But the teen pulled out a 12-inch knife and stabbed Finn through the chest, before turning the knife on PC Wardell. However, Finn got in the way to protect his handler. Seven-year-old Finn needed four hours of surgery to save his life as the weapon had narrowly missed his heart.

PC Wardell broke down in tears as he gave evidence in court. He said: “I knew we were in mortal danger, I thought, 'he's just tried to kill my police dog and the next thing is me'. I thought 'we've got to do something about this now or we're not going home’.

“At that point I feared for my life and for Finn's life, I was expecting Finn to die in front of me. Fearing my dog would be dead before I got to the van, I scooped him up and ran to my van.”

During his rehabilitation Finn sat by the door waiting for PC Wardell to come home everyday. He made an amazing recovery and was back patrolling the streets by Christmas.

His 16-year-old attacker was convicted of actual bodily harm against PC Wardell, who suffered a wound to his hand, but only criminal damage for his attack on Finn. The discrepancy in the way injured police officers and service animals are treated by the law sparked a campaign for change called Finn for Change. The government is currently reviewing the legislation.

Finn retired in March this year and is enjoying life as a pet in the Wardell family home. Retired police dogs do not always stay with their handlers, but PC Wardell said there was “never a chance” he would let Finn go.

"He means the world to me. He's like a son.

“I think I've leant on him for emotional and physical support especially after what happened, because he did save my life. I'll miss him immensely at work, but now we'll get to go away together and have lots of new adventures.”

Image © Hertfordshire Constabulary

 

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Scheme to protect wildlife and reduce flooding

News Story 1
 Natural England has announced a new scheme to improve flood protection, boost wildlife and create 160 hectares of new saltmarsh. The £6 million scheme in Lancashire will effectively unite the RSPB’s Hesketh Out Marsh Reserve and Natural England’s Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve. The completed reserve will be the largest site of its kind in the north of England. 

News Shorts
Welfare event to discuss ethical dilemmas faced by vets

Students and ethics experts will host an event on the difficult moral challenges facing vets. Ethical issues, such as euthanasia and breeding animals for certain physical traits, will be discussed by prominent speakers including TV vet Emma Milne and RSPCA chief vet James Yeates. Other topics will include how to tackle suspected animal abuse and the extent of surgical intervention.

The conference will look at how these dilemmas affect the wellbeing of vets, and explore how to better prepare veterinary students for work. It will be held at the University of Edinburgh’s Easter Bush Campus from 30 September - 1 October 2017. Tickets can be purchased here.