A police dog and two canine war heroes who saved countless lives in Afghanistan, sniffing out lethal explosives and saving soldiers from IEDs, have had the favor returned – rescued from death row by the UK Defense Secretary himself.
Gavin Williamson stepped in at the last minute to stop the two Belgian Shepherds from receiving a lethal injection after the army struggled to rehome the canine war heroes. A former police dog named Driver has also been saved and will now be re-homed.
The four-legged heroes, Kevin and Dazz, will now have a “golden future,” according to Williamson. “When you hear the work they do in fields of conflict, you can’t help feel the utmost admiration — not just for them, but their handlers,” the defense secretary told The Sun.
“I’ve instructed my department these dogs are to be saved. We’re talking with charities and looking at a program as to whether they can be re-housed with a handler in a more normal environment,” he added.
“We’re going to ensure they have a golden future. We’ll do everything we can to look after animals that form such an important part of the military family.”
When the story broke that the dogs were facing execution, a Ministry of Defense spokesman previously told the media that “wherever possible, we endeavor to re-home [dogs] at the end of their service life. Sadly, there are some occasions where this is not possible.”
Unsatisfied by this explanation, former SAS soldier Andy McNab launched an online petition to save the dogs. It was signed by more than 374,000 people, catching the attention of the media, celebrities, and politicians across the UK. “It’s a brilliant success story and no less than these dogs deserve,” McNab told The Sun.
Handlers who have previously worked with the three patrol dogs have promised that a party to celebrate the news is on the cards. “Everyone’s over the moon,” one of the handlers said.
Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan wrote to the Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Friday to call for a reprieve. The MP for Melton and Rutland said the new fate of the three dogs is excellent to hear.
“It is very good news, as long as they have a good home, which also guarantees safety for people,” Duncan said. He added that they were “hero dogs who have fought fearlessly alongside our soldiers” and any danger to people “must be proven.”
“We are all happy for Kevin and Dazz and also good luck to Driver,” he said.
It is understood that the three dogs are all very good boys and will receive many pats to celebrate their freedom from death row.