A law has been passed which will prevent those who attack service animals claiming self-defence.

Police dogs and horses will now have more protection from attacks after a new law named after a hero police dog came into force.

The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill, nicknamed Finn's Law after the loyal dog who was brutally stabbed while protecting his handler from a knife-wielding suspect.

The law removes a section of the current law of self-defence often used by those who harm a service animal while committing a crime.

Finn's handler Pc Dave Wardell said the dog, now retired, saved his life when a robbery suspect they were pursuing turned on them with a knife in 2016.

Finn was stabbed in the chest and head but did not let go until reinforcements arrived, and was initially thought unlikely to survive.

While the suspect was charged with ABH in relation to wounds to Pc Wardell's hand, he faced only criminal damage charges over the injuries to Finn.

Pc Wardell said: "The last two and a half years have been quite a journey of discovery for Finn and me.

"We decided that we just had to bring change to make sure our amazing service animals, including police dogs and horses, had protection in law.

"We wanted to bring as much positive from that one negative as we could."

The pair also managed to reach the final of this year's Britain's Got Talent but lost to Chelsea Pensioner Colin Thackery.

A spokesman from Battersea dogs and cats home said: "Finn's Law is a big step in the right direction, but there's still more work to be done to protect all our animals.

"We have long been calling on the Government to increase the maximum sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years. We are a nation of animal lovers and our laws need to reflect this."