Man who stabbed a police dog first to be convicted under Finn’s Law
A Liverpool man was sent to prison for 21 months after pleading guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a Staffordshire Police dog.
Daniel O’Sullivan, 29, became the first person to be convicted under new legislation to protect service animals when he appeared at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court on Monday (August 5).
O’Sullivan also admitted five counts of assaulting police officers and two of possessing offensive weapons in a public place.
He was accused of stabbing police dog Audi twice as his handler, Police Constable Karl Mander, responded to reports of a man with a knife in Stoke-on-Trent on July 1.
When they arrived, O’Sullivan was found wielding a knife in one hand and a glass bottle in the other and threatened to stab them if he was approached.
He refused to put down the weapons and PC Mander sent in PD Audi. The dog was stabbed twice in the head and had to receive emergency medical treatment.
When another officer arrived, O’Sullivan kicked him in the head and threw a bottle at him.
He was detained and taken to hospital for assessment. While there, he spat at four officers and kicked one of them in the head.
Detective Inspector Stephen Ward 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. Aside from the sheer cruelty of his actions, it takes a great deal of time, energy and expense to train a police dog and an experience like that could have ended his career. Fortunately, Audi has recovered well and is back at work.”
The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act 2019, also known as Finn’s Law, was introduced on April 8. It created the new offence of Unnecessary Suffering to a Protected Animal, which meant such assaults are no longer treated as criminal damage.
The Act was named after PD Finn who was violently stabbed by a 16-year-old boy in 2016. His handler, Police Constable Dave Wardell, suffered a serious laceration to his hand.