Following the recent destruction of Prince William’s two guard dogs it has been revealed that the Ministry of Defence has humanely killed over 250 service dogs in the last three years.This month Prince William resigned from his position in the RAF as a search and rescue pilot to focus on his personal life and royal duties. Within days his two guard dogs, Brus and Blade were euthanized. A spokesman for the MoD claims the timing was coincidental and they were not able to be rehomed or placed in another department due to behavioural and health issues.
The Duke of Cambridge is a self-confessed dog lover with his own pet spaniel, Lupo. Workers from the Anglesey base have confirmed that he regularly patted the dogs and greeted their handlers. Kensington Palace has remained silent but it is speculated that the Duke will be as upset as his colleagues over the death of the two dogs.
Brus, a seven year old Belgian Shepherd, and Blade, a nine year old German Shepherd, were put to sleep as they were unsuitable to be returned to the Defence Animal Centre. Blade was diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the hips and a spinal condition. Brus had high stress levels and was deemed too aggressive for rehoming.
Animal welfare groups, such as the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and The Dogs’ Trust, have shown outrage at this incident and the recently discovered figures. Both of them are adamant that animals should not be treated as pieces of military equipment that can be disposed of when they reach the end of their useful life. They appreciate the difficulties associated with rehoming ex-service dogs as family pets, but want to highlight that deployment to another unit or retirement with a specialist handler are more humane alternatives that should not be forgotten.
Despite the large number of dogs that have been put to sleep since January 2010, the MoD has stated that the majority of decisions were made following a veterinary consultation. This established that their condition either compromised their quality of life or put those around them at risk making it impossible to re-home them safely. The MoD’s methods of dealing with ex-service dogs are in conflict with those of the Metropolitan Police who claim to never put a healthy dog down following retirement.
There has been an online petition with over 6,000 signatures addressed to David Cameron and the MoD in a protest against the killing of war dogs.