A petition launched on Monday (10 October) by a Hertfordshire traffic police officer to protect police horses and dogs received nearly 25,000 signatures in the first two days.
PC David Burstow said in his petition: “I propose that UK police dogs and horses be given protection that reflects their status if assaulted in the line of duty. This would be similar to the US Federal Law Enforcement Animal Protection.”
In the US, a law passed by President Bill Clinton in 2000 said anyone who harms a police animal will be fined and could face a prison sentence of a year.
If the animal was killed or permanently disabled, the sentence could be extended to up to 10 years.
PC Burstow launched the petition following an attack on a police dog called Finn last week (5 October).
“Anything to help promote the safety of members of the police family should be looked at positively, however ultimately the decision on legislative change is a matter for the government,” said ACC Dan Vajzovic, head of the joint protected services for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.
“Were there to be a proposal for legislative change, I would support legislation that offered an effective mechanism for reducing the likelihood of officers and their police dogs being subject to assault and injury.”
The dog and his handler, PC Dave Wardell, suffered stab wounds in Stevenage while investigating a crime.
PC Wardell received an injury to his hand and Finn suffered a wound to his head and chest.
The stab wound to the dog’s chest perforated his lungs by eight inches and complex surgery was required to save his life.
Finn is still very sore but is recovering from his injuries.
A teenager has been charged following the incident and appeared in court on 6 October.
The petition had reached 38,000 signatures at the time of publication.
All petitions that reach 100,000 signatures will be considered for debate in Parliament.