Military has put down nearly 1,200 combat dogs since 2002


Military has put down nearly 1,200 combat dogs since 2002 with many classed as too dangerous to rehome, figures show

  • 380 dogs, typically Belgian Malinois, killed by army vets between 2013 and 2019
  • Number more than double between 2002 and 2012 when 807 were put down
  • Countless dogs deemed too ‘old and worn out’ or ‘too dangerous’ to rehome
  • Others were killed for ‘failing to maintain standards’ or for ‘welfare reasons’ 

The army put down almost 1,200 combat dogs since 2002, with many classed as ‘too dangerous’ to rehome, figures show. 

Some 380 dogs – typically Belgian Malinois – were killed by army vets between 2013 and 2019, official figures have revealed.

This number was more than double between 2002 and 2012 when 807 hounds were put down.

Countless dogs were deemed too ‘old and worn out’ or ‘too dangerous’ to rehome  – while others were killed for ‘failing to maintain standards’ or for ‘welfare reasons’. 

The army put down almost 1,200 combat dogs since 2002, with many classed as ‘too dangerous’ to rehome, figures show (file image) 

Army service dogs are fondly dubbed ‘fur-guided missiles’ by their handlers and are taken on military missions across the world.

The highly-trained animals can find injured men and track down terrorists – with some able to parachute into battlefield while strapped to their handlers.

But countless dogs are being put down ‘at the end of their working lives’, sparking calls for the British Army to do more to save them.

A veteran SAS soldier and dog handler – who served in Iraq and Afghanistan – told The Mirror: ‘These incredibly brave dogs have saved the lives of a lot of soldiers.

‘It’s absolutely tragic that they are being destroyed at the end of their working lives.’

Just under 400 military dogs are currently working in the British Army, according to figures released in 2018.

They operate with handlers on various operations, including detecting Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), looking for safe routes and buildings and drug-busting tasks.

A total of 41 military dogs were euthanised this year after being found to be unfit for service

Army service dogs are fondly dubbed ‘fur-guided missiles’ by their handlers and are taken on military missions across the world (file image)

Many have served in conflicts in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia.

When they come to the end of their service they go to a group of highly experienced dog trainers within the Canine Training Squadron.

The job of these trainers is to ‘de-train’ dogs, to prepare them for possible rehoming into the civilian population.

The trainers use techniques to relax the dogs, and make them understand that they no longer have to work.

Some 380 dogs – typically Belgian Malinois – were killed by army vets between 2013 and 2019, official figures have revealed (file image)

They aim to introduce the dogs to ‘Civi Street’ in a controlled and safe way, continually assessing their suitability for rehoming.

Although not all dogs are suitable for rehoming, many are rehomed with ex-military dog handlers. Others are rehomed with the general civilian population.

The process of ensuring a dog is suitable for the outside world is very strict, and rigorous procedures are followed to ensure dogs are re-homed wherever possible. 

If, at the end of ‘de-training’ dogs are considered too old, dangerous, ‘below standard’, ill or unfit, they will be put down.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk