Belgian shepherds Kevin and Dazz spent years putting their lives on the line for their fellow soldiers. They were both trained to sniff out IEDs and protect others from harm and they performed their job wonderfully. They are now able to retire, but apparently for military dogs, retirement isn't always the best option.
Kevin and Dazz didn't have a home to go to, so their commanding officer had ordered them to be put down. Obviously this did not go over well, and their handlers were furious with the news. "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."
But the people who actually were responsible for the dogs weren't going to let this happen. "We’ll do anything to save these dogs. We’ll go to Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson if need be."
The Army spokesman said that, "Wherever possible we endeavor to rehome military working dogs. Sadly there are occasions where this is not possible.” But the people who loved the dogs weren't satisfied with the answer and kept working to find a solution. Even Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan stepped in to try and help these dogs find new homes.
Duncan said that these dogs had "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."
Well, the Army has finally responded do their requests...
While Duncan understands the level of care that must be taken with these highly trained dogs, he felt they deserved a chance. "Of course, it is of great importance that all military dogs are properly assessed before re-homing 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."
After all the campaigning, they were finally able to convince Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson to agree to let the dogs live. He said, "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."
Hopefully this means that moving forward, other dogs will not have to face this same fate. "We’re going to ensure they have a golden future." Williamson said. "We’ll do everything we can to look after animals that form such an important part of the military family."
Their efforts to save these Army dogs have already helped another. A third dog named Driver, who was a former police dog, was also pardoned from death row as a direct result of the petition.
Hopefully this trend will continue, and we won't ever have to see these heroic dogs have their lives ended prematurely.