Outrage: Hero military dogs scheduled to be put down

Two British army dogs that helped save thousands of lives by sniffing out IEDs in Afghanistan are scheduled to be euthanized in two days.

The dogs, Kevin and Dazz, have been ruled "unsafe" for new civilian homes. 

The decision to put them down lies solely with  the commanding officer at the Defense Animal Center in Leicester.  He has been deaf to numerous pleas from the dog's handlers, from other members of the unit, and the general public, as several petitions have been started to save Kevin's and Dazz's lives.

The Sun:

But despite experienced hand­lers offering to take them, Army chiefs are standing firm, saying they aren't safe to be given new homes.

The angry handler said amid a campaign to rescue the trio: "People who worked closely with these dogs are devastated at the plans – they've begged to save them all.

"There's no protocol to decide if a dog is put down. The commanding officer decides and that's it. It's such a cruel way to treat ­animals that have given so much.

"We'll do anything to save these dogs. We'll go to Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson if need be."

Kevin and Dazz, both nine, sniffed out IEDs on several tours of Afghanistan, saving many lives. After being retired from the front line about four years ago they worked with trainees and are now at the Defence Animal Centre.

Once deemed too old for duty, they should have gone through a detraining programme to see if they were suitable for new homes.

But the handler said the commanding officer had taken an "ex­treme view" after a recent incident where another dog bit a civilian.

SAS legend Andy McNab launched an online petition to save the hounds. He said: "Dogs like these saved me many times.

"They should be cared for when they retire. If homes are being offered by handlers it's outrageous there are plans to put them down."

An Army spokesman said: "Wherever possible we endeavour to rehome military working dogs. Sadly there are oc­casions where this is not possible."

You don't have to be a dog-lover to realize the special contributions of these animals.  Kevin and Dazz are highly trained, and their incredible sense of smell was vital in keeping the men in their unit safe. By all accounts, they are heroes and should be spared from death.

These dogs are fully aware they are going into danger.  But their love for their handlers and the men in their unit along with highly specialized training has made them into professionals.  They were as much a part of their unit as any human, which makes the decision by the commanding officer inexplicable.

The "incident" where a dog bit a civilian is reported with no context.  My experience with dogs is that they will not bite a human unless they are sick, injured, or provoked.  Even military and police dogs can become gentle, playful household companions, given the right retraining and patience by the owner.

In this case, the handlers themselves have volunteered to take the dogs in, but the commanding officer continues to resist.  Anyone who says "they're just dogs" doesn't know what they've done, what they've been through for their human comrades, or how capable they are of giving the same love and loyalty to a family that they did to the men and women in their unit.

If they die, it will be a black mark on the long history in Great Britain of dogs going to war.

Two British army dogs that helped save thousands of lives by sniffing out IEDs in Afghanistan are scheduled to be euthanized in two days.

The dogs, Kevin and Dazz, have been ruled "unsafe" for new civilian homes. 

The decision to put them down lies solely with  the commanding officer at the Defense Animal Center in Leicester.  He has been deaf to numerous pleas from the dog's handlers, from other members of the unit, and the general public, as several petitions have been started to save Kevin's and Dazz's lives.

The Sun:

But despite experienced hand­lers offering to take them, Army chiefs are standing firm, saying they aren't safe to be given new homes.

The angry handler said amid a campaign to rescue the trio: "People who worked closely with these dogs are devastated at the plans – they've begged to save them all.

"There's no protocol to decide if a dog is put down. The commanding officer decides and that's it. It's such a cruel way to treat ­animals that have given so much.

"We'll do anything to save these dogs. We'll go to Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson if need be."

Kevin and Dazz, both nine, sniffed out IEDs on several tours of Afghanistan, saving many lives. After being retired from the front line about four years ago they worked with trainees and are now at the Defence Animal Centre.

Once deemed too old for duty, they should have gone through a detraining programme to see if they were suitable for new homes.

But the handler said the commanding officer had taken an "ex­treme view" after a recent incident where another dog bit a civilian.

SAS legend Andy McNab launched an online petition to save the hounds. He said: "Dogs like these saved me many times.

"They should be cared for when they retire. If homes are being offered by handlers it's outrageous there are plans to put them down."

An Army spokesman said: "Wherever possible we endeavour to rehome military working dogs. Sadly there are oc­casions where this is not possible."

You don't have to be a dog-lover to realize the special contributions of these animals.  Kevin and Dazz are highly trained, and their incredible sense of smell was vital in keeping the men in their unit safe. By all accounts, they are heroes and should be spared from death.

These dogs are fully aware they are going into danger.  But their love for their handlers and the men in their unit along with highly specialized training has made them into professionals.  They were as much a part of their unit as any human, which makes the decision by the commanding officer inexplicable.

The "incident" where a dog bit a civilian is reported with no context.  My experience with dogs is that they will not bite a human unless they are sick, injured, or provoked.  Even military and police dogs can become gentle, playful household companions, given the right retraining and patience by the owner.

In this case, the handlers themselves have volunteered to take the dogs in, but the commanding officer continues to resist.  Anyone who says "they're just dogs" doesn't know what they've done, what they've been through for their human comrades, or how capable they are of giving the same love and loyalty to a family that they did to the men and women in their unit.

If they die, it will be a black mark on the long history in Great Britain of dogs going to war.

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