Two dogs who served with the British Army in Afghanistan were saved from being euthanized after former soldiers who worked with them helped raise awareness about their looming situation.
News eventually reached Sir Alan Duncan, the UK's Foreign Office minister, who soon intervened.
The Telegraph reports that Duncan, a dog lover himself, “was outraged by the fact that three dogs, who saved thousands of lives while serving with the army, were due to be put down because a suitable home could not be found for them.”
Hero army dogs saved from death row after minister intervenes https://t.co/srjpSr0sxx
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) December 5, 2017
The two Belgian shepherds, Kevin and Dazz, had been sent to Afghanistan to uncover IEDs and were set to retire four years ago. However, it was recently decided that a suitable home could not be found for the 9-year-old dogs, according to authorities.
In response, a petition by former Special Air Service soldier Andy McNab urged their protection. It gathered more than 370,000 signatures.
“[Military dogs] saved countless lives when I was in the Special Air Service sniffing out explosives,” McNab wrote. “We owe them every chance possible to be housed and not killed.”
Hero dogs who saved lives in Afghanistan due to be put down in Melton's Defence Animal Centre in my constituency, though there are experienced handlers willing to look after them. Even my dog Noodle says “Save the army hero dogs!” https://t.co/nClBsTVeNRpic.twitter.com/dNfwPmRSwh
— Sir Alan Duncan MP (@AlanDuncanMP) December 1, 2017
Duncan, furthermore, told The Telegraph:
These are hero dogs who have fought fearlessly alongside our soldiers. Let us now be the ones to fight for them and give them a chance to live happy lives where they can thrive. It is the least they deserve.
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Of course, it is of great importance that all military dogs must be properly assessed to ensure they do not pose a danger to civilians, but only in circumstances where such danger has been properly proven should they be put down. I have written to MOD ministers to personally ask for a reprieve and am awaiting a response.
Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed that they've been reprieved.
“We’re going to ensure they have a golden future,” Williamson told The Sun. “We’ll do everything we can to look after animals that form such an important part of the military family.”
A third dog named Driver has also been saved.
“I'm absolutely thrilled that army hero dogs Kevin and Dazz have been saved,” a relieved Duncan said. “They can now enjoy a very happy and well deserved retirement.”