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Petition seeks officer status for police animals

Almost 116,000 people have signed a petition calling for police dogs and horses to be given 'officer status'.

The petition was set up by PC Dave Wardell of the Beds, Herts and Cambs Dog Unit, after his German shepherd, Finn, was seriously injured when he was stabbed repeatedly in the head and chest as he tackled an armed man accused of robbing a Stevenage taxi driver.

"The petition calls for a change in the law so that attacks on police animals would be treated as assault or attempted murder," says Tiff Lynch, chairman of Leicestershire Police Federation, "As the law currently stands, these incidents are treated as criminal damage."

The petition needed to reach the 100,000 signature mark to potentially trigger a debate in Parliament on the issue.

PD Finn underwent a four-hour operation after the attack and had to have part of his lung removed but is now recovering at home.