Beds, Herts & Bucks

Stabbed police dog Finn's brave recovery

Finn with get well cards Image copyright PC Dave Wardell
Image caption Finn was stabbed protecting his handler from a suspect

The handler of a police dog stabbed while apprehending a suspect has spoken of the animal's brave recovery.

PC Dave Wardell was stabbed in the hand and his German shepherd Finn was stabbed in the head and chest in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, on 5 October.

They had been called in to apprehend a man suspected of robbing a taxi driver at gunpoint.

"Finn was stabbed trying to protect me," PC Wardell said. "He got it first."

"He was taking down an offender as he has done hundreds of times, and in the blink of an eye everything changed."

Image copyright Hertfordshire Police
Image caption The seriously injured dog underwent four hours of emergency surgery and is now recovering at home with handler PC Dave Wardell
Image copyright BCH Police Dogs
Image caption German shepherd Finn was stabbed in the head and chest after pursuing a suspect

He rushed Finn to a vet who performed surgery to save the dog's life.

"I stayed until they made me go to hospital then I came back," PC Wardell said.

"The bond between a handler and his dogs is second to none. Seeing my partner stabbed was one of the worst days of my life."

Four days later Finn returned to the home he shares with the Wardell family and sniffer dog Pearl, a spaniel.

'Showing off'

A week later Finn is doing well and "being very cheeky", PC Wardell said.

"He found some treats, ripped open the packet and ate the lot."

Image copyright BCH Dog Unit
Image caption PC Dave Wardell has had Finn since he was a nine-month-old puppy

Pearl, with whom Finn shares a kennel "has been missing him lots".

"Finn's allowed for short walks and goes to the kennel then shows off a bit because he's allowed back inside the house.

"He can't understand why he can't go out and work."

His stitches should be removed next week but it could be several weeks before vets know whether he will be fit enough to work.

A 16-year-old boy from Lewisham, south-east London, has been charged with assaulting an officer and with criminal damage.

Following the charge, a petition was set up on the UK government's petition site, proposing that police animals "be given protection that reflects their status if assaulted in the line of duty".

Since 9 October, 57,000 people have signed "Finn's Law".

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