Police and service dogs and horses receive specific protection by law

Up until recently, it was possible for someone to claim a defence if they had harmed a service animal. The defence has been a recognised loophole in England's animal welfare legislation for quite some time.

There is an initiative, however, aptly named the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill which to amend the Animal Welfare Act 2006, and would make it a specific offence to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal "under the control of the relevant officer" such as a police or prison Officer.

Those countries whose animal welfare legislation demonstrating the same legal loophole which effectively reduces the protections available to service animals, might also be interested in applying a similar initiative.