Kevin

Two "hero" retired army dogs have been saved from the lethal injection after a nationwide campaign sparked public outcry and ministerial intervention.

Belgian Shepherds, Kevin and Dazz, served in Afghanistan sniffing out IEDs in Helmand Province. Their efforts while on duty helped to save thousands of lives in the region.

However, after chiefs ruled they could not be rehomed safely due to aggression issues, the service animals faced being put down.

 

Kevin with his handler Kelly
Kevin with his former handler Lance Corporal Kelly Wolstencroft

It was also apparently decided that the former handlers, heartbroken by the news, could not home the hero pups.

One former handler told the Sun: "People who worked closely with these dogs are devastated at the plans — they’ve begged to save them all.

Outraged by the fact the pair of pooches could be destroyed this week, Sir Alan Duncan, the Foreign Office minister and dog lover wrote to the MoD calling for a reprieve.

On Monday night he said:

"I'm absolutely thrilled that army hero dogs Kevin and Dazz have been saved. They can now enjoy a very happy and well deserved retirement."

The dogs are based at the Defence Animal Centre in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire - in the constituency which Sir Alan represents.

The Foreign Office minister previously told how the "hero" dogs had "fought fearlessly alongside our soldiers".

He had said:

"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.

"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."

A petition had been launched by former SAS soldier Andy McNab to stop the duo being put down, as well as a third canine, a former police dog named Driver.

LANCE CORPORAL KELLY WOLSTENCROFT
Kevin, A soldier's best friend

He told the paper: "It's a brilliant success story and no less than these dogs deserve."

On the website hosting the petition, which gathered more than 370,000 signatures, he praised service dogs for saving, "countless lives when I was in the Special Air Service sniffing out explosives".

"In Afghanistan when I was on a patrol the dogs found an IED in front of us, I was number three in line, I was very, very lucky to survive," he wrote.

The Sun reported Kevin and Dazz are both aged nine and retired from the frontline about four years ago and will be re-homed along with Driver.

An MOD spokesman previously said: "Wherever possible, we endeavour to re-home them (dogs) at the end of their service life.

"Sadly, there are some occasions where this is not possible."

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