A drunken thug who stabbed a police dog in the head was jailed today in a UK legal first.
Daniel O’Sullivan, 29, stabbed Police Dog Audi after officers tried to arrest him for being drunk and making threats in the street.
New legislation under the Animal Welfare Act, known as 'Finn's Law', recognises crime fighting animals as public servants, rather than police property
O Sullivan, who was also high on 'monkey dust' and cocaine during the attack, knifed the German Shepard in Hanley, Staffordshire in July.
The pooch, called PD Audi, launched at O’Sullivan after he threw a glass bottle at the officers, including PC Karl Mander, the dog's handler.
O'Sullivan stabbed the dog near the eye and tried to stab him again, before being chased by the officers and was tasered before falling to the floor.
He became the first person in Britain to be jailed under the Act, which was passed in June.
Before the act was passed, attacks on police dogs were treated as criminal damage.
He was jailed for a total of 21 months, including three for stabbing PD Audi, at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.
The judge said it had been called a 'gratuitous' and 'plainly premeditated' assault on Audi.
The assailant admitted to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal and five counts of assault and two of possessing an offensive weapon in public.
Another officer was also kicked in the face and head and had a bottle thrown at him by O’Sullivan.
O'Sullivan was arrested and taken by ambulance to the Royal Stoke University Hospital for assessment where he he spat at four officers and kicked another one of them in the head.
Despite the dog’s injuries, PD Audi made a full recovery and was back at work just four weeks after the attack.
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Speaking after O’Sullivan was jailed, Detective Inspector Stephen Ward, of Staffordshire Police, 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.'
Finn's Law was named after a German shepherd police dog who was brutally stabbed as he protected his handler from a suspect with a knife.
The law means self-defence cannot be used as line of argument in court.
The legislation was coupled with government plans to increase maximum sentences for animal cruelty offences to five years in prison.
The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs said said the laws will make sure those who harm service animals are punished accordingly.