Tributes paid as ex-police dog who was stabbed protecting his handler dies at 14
Tributes have been paid after the death of a dog who was stabbed as he protected his police handler from an armed suspect.
Retired police dog Finn, a German shepherd, died at the age of 14 on Thursday.
The dog, dubbed Fabulous Finn, went on to win the hearts of the nation as a Britain’s Got Talent finalist.
Finn had emergency surgery for injuries sustained while protecting his handler, Pc Dave Wardell, during a chase in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, on October 5 2016.
Finn was stabbed twice with a hunting knife after grabbing the leg of an armed suspect who was attempting to jump over a fence.
The assailant also stabbed Pc Wardell in the hand, but was prevented from landing a fatal blow thanks to Finn, who pulled him back.
Finn returned to duty, before retiring in 2017.
A message posted on Facebook on Friday on behalf of Mr Wardell read: “Our beautiful, brave, Hero Finn passed away peacefully in his sleep last night.
“He was so loved by everyone and will be missed incredibly.”
It added: “Thank you for your service Finn, now go and Rest in peace our sweet boy, until we meet again.”
For his bravery, Finn was honoured with the PDSA Gold Medal, which is known as the animals’ George Cross, and a new law in his name was introduced.
A 16-year-old boy from London, who could not be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of stabbing Finn and wounding Pc Wardell. He was sentenced to youth custody.
After a campaign for a change in the law regarding injuries to police support animals, the new Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act, known as Finn’s Law, was introduced in 2019.
Finn also appeared in the 2019 series of BGT, alongside Mr Wardell, where he wowed the judges with his magic tricks and mind-reading skills.
Finn was also an ambassador for the Thin Blue Paw Foundation, a national charity that supports police dogs.
Trustee Kieran Stanbridge said it had been “an honour” to work alongside Finn as he helped raise awareness of the medical problems and costs facing retired service animals and their families.
It is “one of many ways he made a difference to so many animals’ lives”, said Mr Stanbridge.
He added: “We will miss him immensely. Our thoughts are with Finn’s family at this very difficult time.
“Finn, your legacy will live on, may you stand down with pride.”
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