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Brave police dog wins animal of the year award

Finn is to be recognised by the IFAW. Credit: ITV Anglia

An heroic police dog who was stabbed in the line of duty is to receive another animal bravery award.

Eight-year-old German Shepherd Finn, along with handler PC Dave Wardell, from Hertfordshire, was chasing a suspect in the dark through a garden in Stevenage on October 5 last year when both were attacked with a knife.

Finn suffered stab wounds to the head and chest and had to have four hours of emergency surgery at a vets in Hitchin. PC Wardell suffered a hand injury.

Now Finn, who's retired from duty, is get a special award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare at the House of Lords. He's already received a similar award from the RSPCA.

The attack inspired a campaign for Finn's Law, which prompted attacks on police animals to be upgraded from criminal damage to an aggravated offence, with tougher sentences.

It has been a crazy year for Finn and I, a real emotional rollercoaster, it still feels very raw now but we have at least turned negatives into positives as much as possible.

I was really blown away to hear that Finn was to receive the IFAW Animal of the Year Award, not just because IFAW has been a group at the forefront of the push to change legislation but also it is an honour to see Finn’s actions recognised with this award.

– PC Wardell

Finn is a truly remarkable dog in a million. His defence of his handler and his dedication to duty shows the special relationships that can exist between dogs and people.

Similarly, PC Wardell’s tireless campaign following the devastating attack on his canine best friend is admirable and we hope it will help prevent similar attacks on police animals in the future. Finn is a very deserving winner of IFAW’s Animal of the Year Award.

– Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of IFAW

PC Wardell continues to work as an operational handler and instructor with the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Police Dog Unit, working with other dogs.

Finn is not taking it easy in his retirement though, and still enjoys lots of training, walks and fun days out with PC Wardell and his family.

At home, Finn is not short of companions as he is one of six dogs living with PC Wardell, his wife Gemma (34), and daughters Jaymee (11), Tia (7) and five-year-old India.

Finn will receive his award at IFAW’s Animal Action Awards event, hosted by Baroness Gale and presented by TV wildlife presenter Bill Oddie at the House of Lords on October 17.