Man jailed for 21 months for attacks on police dog and officers
A man who stabbed a police dog in the head has become the first offender to be prosecuted under Finn’s Law.
Daniel O’Sullivan, 29, from Bowland Drive, Liverpool, appeared at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court yesterday (5 August), where he admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
O’Sullivan also pleaded guilty to five counts of assault and two counts of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place. He was sentenced to 21 months, including three months for injuring a police dog.
This is the first prosecution made under the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill, commonly known as Finn’s Law, which recognises police dogs as public servants, rather than police property.
Police dog Audi and his handler PC Karl Mander were injured after they responded to reports of a man with a knife on Town Road, Hanley, on 1 July 2019.
O’Sullivan was found holding a glass bottle in one hand, a knife in the other and was threatening to stab officers if they approached. After he refused to put down the knife, PC Mander deployed PD Audi. The dog was stabbed twice in the head and had to receive emergency medical treatment.
Another officer was kicked in the face and head and had a bottle thrown at him. O’Sullivan was taken to Royal Stoke University Hospital by ambulance. Whilst in hospital he was aggressive and unpredictable to staff, spat at four officers and kicked one in the head.
Detective inspector Stephen Ward, from CID, said: “O'Sullivan presented a significant danger to anyone who was nearby and we cannot allow the public to be put at risk.
"He assaulted five officers, spitting at four of them, which is a degrading experience for the officers concerned and can present a health risk.
“O'Sullivan was out to seriously hurt PD Audi and it was lucky that he wasn't blinded or killed as a result of his injuries.”
Audi is said to have recovered well and is now back at work.