The South Australian government will extend recently framed laws to protect working animals such as police dogs and horses to also cover assistance animals such as guide dogs.

Under the proposed laws anyone who harms a working animal could face a maximum penalty of five years in jail.

The penalties were a response to an attack on a police dog last month with the animal stabbed twice as he helped his handler detain an offender.

Attorney-General John Rau says guide and assistance dogs are not domestic pets and play an important role in the community.

He says while there have been no reports of any attacks on guide dogs in SA, there has been targeted attacks on such dogs in Britain.

"I am not sure what type of sick individual would initiate such an attack," Mr Rau said.

Guide Dogs South Australia chief executive Kate Thiele welcomed the inclusion of assistance animals in the new provisions.

She said anyone who intentionally harmed a working dog should be held accountable to the community.

 

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