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Avon and Somerset join forces to help retired police dogs


From L-R: A&S dog handler PC Dave Beck with police dog Axel, PCC Sue Mountstevens, A&S dog handler PC Andrew Jerreat with police dog Jake, Gloucestershire PCC Martin Surl and A&S dog handler PS Denis McCoy with police dog Lebo

Twenty four retired police dogs from Avon and Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire are to get financial support thanks to a new trust called WAGs.

Police dogs often retire with injuries they have suffered during their working life and most of the dogs are difficult to insure because of their specialised training, leaving the full cost of any veterinary treatment to be met by their handler or new adopted owner.

WAGs, an acronym made up of the initial letters of the three forces involved is an independent, not-for-profit trust who provide financial support for retired police dogs of Avon and Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire if they need emergency care.

In support of the trust the Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and Chief Constables of Avon and Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire have each agreed to donate £500.

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Police dogs perform an important service during their working lives and the work of WAGs provides valued care and support for police dogs once they have retired from operational duty.

“The local people of Avon and Somerset have a great appreciation for police dogs and the work that they do and I am delighted to collaborate with Wiltshire and Gloucestershire in saying a big thank you to the dogs for their immeasurable contribution.”

Police Sergeant (PS) Denis McCoy, Avon and Somerset Police dog handler and Tri Force Specialist Operations said: “Police dogs carryout a range of duties that couldn’t be fulfilled in any other way, whether tracking offenders or explosives or searching for vulnerable individuals they are invaluable in keeping the communities of Avon and Somerset safe.

“Throughout their working lives, many of our dogs would of detained countless offenders and found numerous missing persons and it is only right and proper that for the loyal service provided we now look to assist them in their retirements.

PS McCoy went on to say that this is ‘our way of saying thank you’ and highlighted the work of the police dogs in 2011 ‘when only four dogs stopped Bristol City Centre from being looted’.  A video of the incident which PS McCoy is referring to can be seen here.

Police Constable (PC) Andrew Jerreat, an Avon and Somerset Police dog handler, who is one of the WAGS trustees said: “The 2011 video of the police dogs in Bristol City Centre is actually quite poignant as three out of the four dogs who assisted us in that situation are now retired.  It is important people know WAGs provide financial support to retired police dogs that require emergency care not every day basics.  That is why we are extremely grateful for any donations and sponsorship we receive.  Whether a German Sheppard, Collie, Labrador or Spaniel all our dogs play a vital role in keeping local people safe.”

WAGs trustees are drawn from the three constabularies which have combined their dog handling teams.

Various fundraising events are planned and WAGs will be present at various summer events. They are also keen to hear from any local businesses who may be interested in providing sponsorship for events.

To find out more, or make a donation, please visit the WAGs website www.wagsretiredpolicedogs.org or “like” the WAGs retired police dogs Facebook page.

Posted on Thursday 26th June 2014
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