A 17-year-old youth from Calderdale, whose identity remains undisclosed due to legal constraints, has been handed a 12-month Detention Order following a groundbreaking conviction in what marks the first successful prosecution of its kind in West Yorkshire.

The incident unfolded when officers responded to a burglary at a Market Street shop in Halifax during the early hours of July 11 last year. The young male, who had fled the scene but was believed to be in close proximity, was sought by an officer from West Yorkshire Police’s Dog Section.

Upon locating the suspect, he launched an assault on Police Dog Zero during the arrest attempt. As a consequence of the attack, Zero sustained facial injuries that required medical attention.

Appearing before Bradford Youth Court on January 15, the youth faced charges related to the burglary and causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal. The court handed down a 12-month Detention Order along with a four-month youth referral order.

Commenting on the case, Chief Inspector James Farrar of West Yorkshire Police’s Operational Support team and Head of the Dog Section, said: “This was a nasty attack on one of our beloved police dogs which resulted in her needing treatment for injuries to her face.

“We take the welfare of our working animals very seriously and, as with our officers, none of them deserves to be assaulted in the line of duty. I’m pleased that the court has taken a dim view of this attack.

“PD Zero is now back to full strength and is due to take part in the Regional Police Dog trials later this year”.

The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act, known as Finn’s Law, has been in effect since 2019 to safeguard service animals, including police dogs and horses. It prevents individuals who attack or injure service animals from claiming self-defence. The legislation was named after Finn, a Hertfordshire Police dog stabbed while pursuing a suspect with his handler.