Armed Forces: Dogs

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 26th February 2018.

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Photo of Tim Farron Tim Farron Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many military dogs have been (a) destroyed because they are considered dangerous for public safety and (b) re-homed in each year since 2012.

Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson The Secretary of State for Defence

Military Working Dogs (MWD) provide an invaluable service to our troops, and every effort is made to rehome them at the end of their service life. Decisions are taken following an extensive assessment of the dogs and any potential new home. Sadly, there are some occasions where it is not possible to rehome, for example when the dog poses a risk to public safety. In such cases decisions are taken following a full assessment by military veterinarians and dog behaviourist experts.

Information relating to the number of MWDs rehomed since 2013 can be found in the table below. Information prior to this date is not held centrally.

Year

MWD Re-homed

2013

101

2014

123

2015

143

2016

114

2017

121

Total

602

Information on why MWDs are euthanised is not held in the format requested. For information on the reasons why MWDs have been euthanised since 2012 I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the then Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans (Mark Lancaster) to Question 66528 on 8 March 2017. Information regarding why MWDs have been euthanised since 6 March 2017 is provided in the table below.

Reasons

06/03/17

- 31/12/2017

Chronic Recurrent Lameness

1

Chronic Soft Tissue Issue

1

Degenerative Joint Disease

6

Failing to maintain standards[1]

6

Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation

1

Heavy bleeding/Infected anal furniculous

1

Kidney Disease, Skin Disease, Degenerative Joint Disease

1

Lumber-Sacral Disease Unremitting Pain

1

Multiple Malignant Tumours

1

Aged/welfare concerns

5

Dangerous temperament

6

Rapid Onset Degenerative Myelopathy

1

Severe non weight bearing lameness non-responsive to medication

1

Spinal Disease

3

Splenic Neoplasia

1

Suspected Haemangiosarcoma

1

Unremitting Osteo Arthritis Pain

1

Total

38

[1] All descriptions are based directly on veterinary records. Some dogs included in these categories will have not been suitable for rehoming based on behaviour and temperament, with potential consequences to public safety. The expression ‘failing to maintain standards’ can include a combination of welfare and behavioural issues.

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