Two “hero” retired army dogs who face being put down because they cannot be re-homed must be reprieved, a minister has said.
Sir Alan Duncan has intervened in a bid to save Kevin and Dazz, reported to have served in Afghanistan by working with troops to locate explosives in Helmand Province, by writing to Ministry of Defence (MOD) ministerial colleagues.
The Belgian shepherds are due to face lethal injections next week, but former soldiers and handlers have called for the decision to be reversed.
They have written to the Defence Animal Centre in Melton – where the dogs have been working with trainees since being retired – to save the pair.
Foreign Office minister Sir Alan represents the constituency where the centre is based and has spoken with a dog handler involved with the campaign.
He has been told letters of support offering homes to the dogs have been rejected.
Sir Alan said: “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 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.
“I have written to MOD ministers personally to ask for a reprieve and am awaiting a response.”
An MOD spokesman 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.”
A petition has been launched by Andy McNab – which The Sun reports is the former SAS soldier – in a bid to stop the duo being put down, as well as a third canine, a former police dog named Driver.
On the site, he wrote: “Dogs like Kevin, Dazz and Driver are an asset when they are serving but they even more of an asset when they are retired.
“We owe them every chance possible to be housed and not killed.”
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.”
The Sun also reported Kevin and Dazz are both aged nine and retired from the frontline about four years ago.