A retired police dog who helped change the law to protect service animals after he was stabbed in the line of duty protecting his handler, has died aged 14.

When police dog Finn and his handler PC Dave Wardell were called to reports of a robbery in Stevenage in 2016, Finn was stabbed in the head and chest by the suspect, but the German shepherd detained the teenager undeterred.

Finn almost died from his injuries, but went on to make a miraculous recovery and return to active duty just 11 weeks later. He retired in March 2017.


PC Wardell and Finn went on to appear on ITV show Britain's Got Talent, and campaigned for Finn's Law, which came into force in 2019 as an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

The Comet: Finn and PC Wardell wowed the judges on ITV's Britain's Got Talent.Finn and PC Wardell wowed the judges on ITV's Britain's Got Talent. (Image: ITV)

The legislation makes it harder for those who harm service animals to claim they were acting in self-defence.

It was followed by another successful campaign, in 2021, to increase the maximum sentence for cruelty to animals from six months to five years.


On Saturday, the Thin Blue Paw Foundation - a charity supporting serving and retired police dogs from across the UK - announced that Finn had sadly died.

The Comet: Finn won several awards for his bravery.Finn won several awards for his bravery. (Image: Tim Anderson)

The charity said: "We're deeply sad to announce the passing of our ambassador, retired police dog Finn, at the age of 14. He leaves a huge legacy behind.

"Our thoughts are with Finn's family at this very difficult time. Finn, your legacy will live on, may you stand down with pride."

To celebrate the life and service of Finn, the Thin Blue Paw Foundation is fundraising to create a memorial statue in his honour. So far, more than £21,000 of the £40,000 target has been raised.


The charity said: "You will forever be a hero. You protected your best friend from harm, and changed the law, so those that follow in your paws are protected whilst serving their country.

"RPD Finn, you will be remembered for generations, and on behalf of the United Kingdom, we thank you for your service. May you rest in peace and forever keep a watchful eye over your dad, PC Dave Wardell."