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11:05pm on Monday 8th April 2019 will be a date that will go do in history for our service animals. This was the exact time that, quite fittingly, the Deputy Speaker, Baroness Finlay, of Llandaff announced to the House of Lords that Royal Assent had been given to the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act. It was a brief statement but one of such importance.

This very short declaration has been what we have all been striving for since 5th October 2016. This means that as of 9th June 2019, anyone who causes unnecessary suffering to a service animal whilst in the commission of its duties, will be able to be charged under s.4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and that they will not longer be able to hide behind the defence of fear.

Our service animals will no longer be viewed as items of “property” in order for charges of Criminal Damage to apply. They will be viewed as the living, breathing and sentient beings that they are.

Finn’s Law is only the 9th Ten Minute Rule Bill to have been successful in the last 20 years. Sir Oliver Heald MP has been a masterful pilot as he has steered the Bill through Parliament against, what is arguably, one of the most divisive periods in modern politics. We are so proud for him to have achieved such success.

We feel privileged to have been able to attend every step of the parliamentary journey of Finn’s Law. It is an important element of the campaign’s strength that we have stood by the Bill throughout. So much so that Viscount Trenchard’s first comment on the announcement of Royal Assent was to apologise to us that we were not able to be present due to the timing of the annoncement. On this occasion, we can honestly say that we really do not have an issue.

The reception that Finn’s Law has received, cross party and in both Houses goes to prove exactly what is possible when agreement is achieved and we all pull together with a shared aim. The depth and strength of support for this long overdue amendment is tangible. We feel it from the public, we feel it from the Police & Crime Commissioners, we feel it from Government Ministers, the MP’s and the Lords.

Finn’s Law is now on the statute books and applies in England & Wales.

The campaign to introduce Finn’s Law in Scotland, is in the safe and capable hands of Liam Kerr MSP . The public consultation will close on 26th April 2019 and we look forward to hearing when Finn’s Law will be put to the floor for debate shortly afterwards.

The campaigns in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man are in their early stages and we will continue to add our support and assistance to further all three current campaigns.

There are so many people to thank it is an impossible task to do so individually. If you have signed a petition, written to your MP, purchased a FinnPin or other Finn’s Law merchandise, handed out leaflets, told a stranger or posted on social media, you should all be proud of Finn’s Law. It is a law you have helped to create.

No involvement has been too small, all of your involvement has been significant and all of it of purpose. We raise a toast to you all.