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Military Dog Awarded Animals' Victoria Cross For Tackling Al-Qaeda Insurgents

Military Dog Awarded Animals' Victoria Cross For Tackling Al-Qaeda Insurgents

A retired military working dog has been awarded the animals' Victoria Cross after tackling Al-Qaeda insurgents last year.

Four-year-old Kuno, a Belgian Shepherd Malinois, was handed the PDSA Dickin Medal for his bravery and devotion to duty.

During the 2019 operation, Kuno charged through gunfire to tackle a gunman, breaking the deadlock and changing the course of attack - in turn allowing the mission to be completed with success.

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However, during the attack, he was wounded by bullets in both back legs, and had to be given life-saving treatment by his handler and medics in the back of a helicopter.

Credit: PDSA
Credit: PDSA

Kuno's injuries were so severe that he needed several operations before he was stable enough to be flown back to the UK. Part of one of his rear paws also had to be amputated to prevent life-threatening infection.

But now Kuno is thriving in his retirement, having become the first UK military working dog to be fitted with prosthetic limbs.

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And to honour his efforts, he was formally presented with his PDSA Dickin Medal - the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross - via a virtual presentation today (24 November), making him the 72nd recipient of the award, joining a line-up of brave dogs, horses, pigeons and a cat.

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PDSA Director General, Jan McLoughlin, said: "Kuno is a true hero. His actions that day undoubtedly changed the course of a vital mission, saving multiple lives in the process. And despite serious, life changing injuries, he performed his duty without faltering.

Credit: PDSA
Credit: PDSA

"For this bravery and devotion to duty, we are honoured to welcome him as the latest recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal."

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Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "I'm delighted that Kuno will receive the PDSA Dickin Medal. It is testament to his training, tireless bravery and devotion to duty which undoubtedly saved lives that day.

"I am very proud of the role our military working dogs play on operations at home and abroad. Kuno's story reminds us of the lengths these animals go to keep us all safe."

The PDSA Dickin Medal was introduced by the charity's founder, Maria Dickin CBE, in 1943.

She believed that, if animals were recognised for their heroic actions, it would help not only raise their status in society, but also ensure they were better treated.

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Along with Kuno, previous recipients include 35 dogs, 32 World War II messenger pigeons, four horses and one cat.

Featured Image Credit: PDSA

Topics: News, Animals, Dogs

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Jess Hardiman

Jess is a journalist at LADbible who graduated from Manchester University with a degree in Film Studies, English Language and Linguistics - indecisiveness at its finest, right there. She also works for FOODbible and its sister page Seitanists, which are both a safe haven for her to channel a love for homemade pasta, fennel and everything else in between. You can contact Jess at [email protected]