Melton MP Sir Alan Duncan has asked for a stay of execution for two military dogs which are due to be put down next week because they can’t be rehomed.
More than 20,000 people have signed a petition, launched by former SAS serviceman and author Andy McNab, which is set to be delivered to the Defence Animal Centre, in Melton, calling for the dogs to be saved.
The Belgian Malinois duo - Dazz and Kevin - served in Afghanistan with British troops before being retired to help trainees at the Melton camp.
After being contacted by people concerned about the animals being euthanised, Sir Alan this morning (Friday) spoke to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to ask that they be reprieved.
He told the Melton Times: “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.
“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.”
Sir Alan said he has been told letters of support had been sent to the MOD offering homes to these dogs, but they have been rejected.
He is concerned the animals have not been given a proper and fair assessment before this decision was taken, he said.
On his petition, Mr McNab, who is also campaigning to save a former police dog, called Driver, from being euthanised, writes: “Experienced handlers have come forward to say they want to house the much-loved dogs, who have helped save hundreds of lives.
“Kevin and Dazz served in Afghanistan where they searched for explosives and Driver worked for the police force.
“Service dogs have saved my life on numerous occasions.
“We have a duty to save them.”
A spokesperson for the MOD said: “Wherever possible, we endeavour to re-home dogs at the end of their service life.
“Sadly, there are some occasions where this is not possible.”
The issue has arisen just days after another military dog based at the DAC - a Malinois called Mali - was awarded the highest bravery honour available to military animals - the PDSA Dickin Medal.
He, too, served in Afghanistan and continued to work despite sustaining serious injuries from grenade attacks. Mali helps train dogs now at the camp.
Go online at www.change.org/p/defence-animal-centre-save-our-veteran-dogs if you would like to sign Mr McNab’s petition.