Britain’s Got Talent alsatian’s police handler has dogs taken away by his own force ‘in illicit breeding inquiry’
- PC David Wardell and alsatian Finn reached final of the ITV talent show in 2019
- Hertfordshire Police have removed springer spaniel and alsatian from his home
- PC Wardell has campaigned for greater legal protection for service animals
A police dog handler who found fame on Britain’s Got Talent with his heroic alsatian is being investigated by his own force amid ‘welfare’ concerns for dogs in his care.
PC David Wardell and alsatian Finn reached the final of the ITV competition in 2019, wowing the judges and ten million viewers with their mind-reading act.
Judge Simon Cowell was moved to tears by PC Wardell’s account of how Finn was stabbed while chasing a suspected armed robber three years earlier.
PC David Wardell, who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2019 with his alsatian, Finn, is under investigation by Hertfordshire Police over ‘illicit breeding’
But Hertfordshire Police have now removed two other dogs – a springer spaniel called Pearl and another alsatian – from the officer’s care.
Sources suggest the disciplinary probe by the force’s Professional Standards Department focuses on claims that one of the dogs was used for breeding.
‘The dogs in question are being looked after elsewhere,’ a police spokesman said. PC Wardell, 46, has been put on restricted duties. He declined to answer questions at his Hertfordshire home yesterday.
Police dogs live with their handlers because of the importance of building a strong bond.
Now retired, Finn, whose heroism inspired a change in the law to protect dogs and horses, has remained with PC Wardell as a family pet.
Of nine-year-old spaniel Pearl, the officer once said: ‘Her job is to search for illegal drugs, quantities of cash, guns and ammunition.
PC Wardell campaigned for greater legal protection for service animals and the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act, known as Finn’s Law, came into action in June 2019
‘On Pearl’s first job on her first day of duty, she successfully located a large haul of class A drugs worth thousands of pounds, as well as a large sum of cash.’
PC Wardell and his wife, Gemma, run a charity, the Thin Blue Paw Foundation, which aims to ‘protect, celebrate and rehabilitate both serving and retired police dogs’.
A video featuring Finn’s story was shown on Britain’s Got Talent. It highlighted pictures of the injuries he suffered and his brave recovery.
After joining the duo on stage for a trick, an emotional Simon Cowell told the officer: ‘When I hear about animal cruelty, especially dogs, it upsets me.
‘A dog will literally give up its life for you. Finn is beautiful, I love him.’
Finn nearly died after the blade missed his heart by millimetres in the attack in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.
He did not let go of the attacker until back-up arrived to arrest him. The attack was regarded as criminal damage to property in the eyes of the law.
PC Wardell campaigned for greater legal protection for service animals and the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act, known as Finn’s Law, came into action in June 2019 to prevent those who attack or injure service animals from claiming it as self-defence.
At the time, he said: ‘There isn’t a bigger stage than Britain’s Got Talent. If I can tell Finn’s story, showcase service animals and talk about Finn’s Law, then I’ve already won.’
Hertfordshire Police said: ‘We can confirm that the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Professional Standards Department is currently investigating an officer’s conduct with regards to police dog welfare issues.
‘The officer is not suspended, but is on restricted duties.
‘At this stage, of the investigation, we are unable to comment further.’
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