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Man who stabbed Staffordshire police dog jailed

A man who stabbed a Staffordshire Police dog in the head has been jailed in the first prosecution made under 'Finn’s Law'.

PD Audi was attacked after he and his handler PC Karl Mander responded to reports of a man with a knife on Town Road, Hanley, on 1 July. 

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard 29-year-old Daniel O’Sullivan, from Bowland Drive, Liverpool, was found holding a glass bottle in one hand and a knife in the other and threatened to stab them if approached.

When O'Sullivan refused to comply with further instructions to put down the knife, PC Mander sent in PD Audi. 

The dog was stabbed twice in the head and had to receive emergency medical treatment. 

Another officer, who arrived at the scene, was kicked in the face and head and had a bottle thrown at him. 

O'Sullivan was taken by ambulance to the Royal Stoke University Hospital for assessment and while there, he became aggressive toward hospital staff. He also spat at four officers and kicked one of them in the head. 

He admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal when he appeared at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court today (5 August). 

He also pleaded guilty to five counts of assault and two counts of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place.

O’Sullivan has been sentenced to a total of 21 months, with three months to be served for injuring a police dog.

The prosecution for the attack is the first under the new Animal Welfare (Emergency Services) Act.

It is known as Finn’s Law, after a police dog who was stabbed on duty in Hertfordshire in 2016.

It recognises police dogs as public servants and not just police property. The maximum sentence is currently six months. 

Detective Inspector Stephen Ward, from CID, said: “O'Sullivan presented a significant danger to anyone who was nearby and we cannot allow the public to be put at risk. 

"He assaulted five officers, spitting at four of them, which is a degrading experience for the officers concerned and can present a health risk.

“O'Sullivan was out to seriously hurt PD Audi and it was lucky that he wasn't blinded or killed as a result of his injuries.

"Aside from the sheer cruelty of his actions, it takes a great deal of time, energy and expense to train a police dog and an experience like that could have ended his career. Fortunately, Audi has recovered well and is back at work.”

Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime Matthew Ellis said: “Police dogs are not only incredible and beautiful animals but are also there to protect and serve the public.

“It is absolutely right that there is a strong deterrent to harming not just police officers, but police dogs as well.

"I’m delighted that PD Audi has recovered well and is back at work.”

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