British Government Euthanizes 800 War Dogs

807 brave dogs who served on the front lines with British soldiers have paid the ultimate price for their service.

The scandal was revealed after government officials confirmed the figures in response to Freedom of Information requests from the Daily Mirror. Saying that many of the dogs are too fierce to be retrained as pets, the UK government has been quietly killing them off in droves. Ironically, the dogs survived the dangers of war only to die from the prick of a vet’s needle, and dog lovers worldwide are mourning their loss while demanding answers.

Of the 807 dogs killed in the past decade, the majority were put down after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Ministry of Defense said twenty canines were euthanized in 2002: that figure rose to 89 in 2003 when the Second Gulf War began. 95 dogs were killed in 2006, but the worst year for British war dogs was 2009, when 125 of them were put down.

Labour MP Kerry McCarthy called the practice a tragedy. “This is shocking. It seems a great shame that animals are destroyed in this way. We need to make sure that every effort is made to find them new homes.”

The Ministry of Defense claims that more recent euthanizations were prompted by behavioral issues or old age, and that sniffer dogs do typically retire with their handlers. But in a recent statement, a government spokesperson admitted that retraining is considered ineffective for many dogs, who are often ‘too dangerous’ be rehomed.

The Dogs Trust, one of the largest and most respected British animal welfare organizations, has issued a strong statement against the ‘premature euthanasia’ of working dogs when retired, and said that every effort to rehome the dogs should be made before taking their lives.

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A concerned reader has created a petition to urge the British government to reconsider the euthanization of war dogs. Should you wish to sign it, you may do so here: Ministry of Defense and David Cameron: Stop the killing of War Dogs


  1. Michele says on  04/07/2012 at 7:58 pm

    How sad!

  2. Lisa says on  04/07/2012 at 7:58 pm

    :( boo!!!! And how sad

  3. Ma Teresa says on  04/07/2012 at 7:58 pm

    why ??? why ???

  4. Jennifer says on  04/07/2012 at 7:59 pm

    So wrong

  5. Why? Why? Why?

  6. sickening!

  7. what!? I would take one myself! That’s crazy.

  8. Sedatemink says on  04/07/2012 at 7:59 pm

    shared :(((

  9. Heather says on  04/07/2012 at 8:00 pm


  10. Jordana says on  04/07/2012 at 8:00 pm

    Can’t even read this…

  11. Ma Teresa says on  04/07/2012 at 8:00 pm

    those that are able to be rehabilated should be allowed to be adopted !!!

  12. Loz says on  04/07/2012 at 8:00 pm

    so very sad and very wong

  13. Tony says on  04/07/2012 at 8:00 pm

    why do we have such freakin morons running things? this is disgusting.

  14. Cathy says on  04/07/2012 at 8:00 pm

    This sucks so bad!! >^..^<

  15. a very sad news :(

  16. Lynda says on  04/07/2012 at 8:00 pm

    JHC!!! What is wrong with those darn Brits? Ever hear of, ‘adoption?”‘ This is just so WRONG!!!!

  17. Jeany says on  04/07/2012 at 8:00 pm

    disgusting and so wrong.

  18. stupid… poor dogs.. stupid humans !

  19. Diane says on  04/07/2012 at 8:01 pm


  20. Mary says on  04/07/2012 at 8:01 pm

    What happened to “Thank you” ???

  21. That is so Terrible…Yeah…Perform and help your country and look what awaits you…A terrible end…

  22. Lisa says on  04/07/2012 at 8:01 pm

    Evil and disgusting!!!!!!

  23. Susan says on  04/07/2012 at 8:01 pm

    Are you sure this is true?

  24. Y, thats sooo wrong… Mans best friend…

  25. Liz says on  04/07/2012 at 8:02 pm

    That is just outrageous. Surely some of the soldiers who worked with those dogs would have taken them.

  26. dislike

  27. Danielle says on  04/07/2012 at 8:02 pm

    So sad. There are too many people that would love to adopt those dogs.

  28. In the US they have wonderful rehab programs for war dogs.

  29. Lynda says on  04/07/2012 at 8:02 pm


  30. Debbie says on  04/07/2012 at 8:02 pm

    Very wrong!!

  31. Joanne says on  04/07/2012 at 8:02 pm

    This is just WRONG!

  32. Matt says on  04/07/2012 at 8:03 pm

    It’s easy to sign a document giving an order. I’m sure it would be different if you not only had to sign that document, but you had to be the one the put each animal down….one at a time. Let’s see how detached someone could be then.

  33. Mike says on  04/07/2012 at 8:03 pm


  34. Where I don’t like this, these dogs are NOT the common house hold pet and should NOT be in a “pet” home. They are working dogs and come from working lines. The typical pet home is NOT a proper place for these dogs.

    • Anonymous says on  04/09/2012 at 12:05 am

      At last a sensible comment.

    • Anonymous says on  04/09/2012 at 10:15 pm

      Most of those dogs can be retrained…its just a matter of money and time…come on, give me a break!

    • Anonymous says on  04/10/2012 at 7:53 am

      Maresa I agree with you but they need to at least spend the money to build some sort of kennel or other facility to house the ones that can’t be rehabilitated, find homes for the ones who can’t and go from there. I dont know, maybe they should have offered to build home kennels for the soldier that the dog served with. They probably don’t want to spend that money. It always comes down to money. It’s too bad they don’t plan these things out better ahead of time.

    • Anonymous says on  04/16/2012 at 6:47 pm

      We adopted a highly aggressive retired MWD and he most certainly fit right into our home which includes a child, they CAN fit into a pet home..

  35. Kym says on  04/07/2012 at 8:03 pm

    The article says : BRITISH. I have read about the dogs here and i have never ever heard that our military in the US puts these dogs down. I think it is wrong though. I believe these dogs could be adopted by THEIR soldier. Or another military family.

  36. Charlie says on  04/07/2012 at 8:04 pm

    The United States can’t retire it’s dogs fast enough to meet demand. can help you if you want to wait and adopt these guys.

  37. Fran says on  04/07/2012 at 8:04 pm

    What is this all about. And the community said “Nothing…. What is wrong with this picture? EVERYTHING

  38. Pathetic!
    I am sure there were 807 grateful, loving families who would have welcomed them into their homes, and given them the retirement they deserved. Our four legged heros should be treasured!

  39. Shame on the Brits!

  40. It’s terrible how many humans have no value for life other than in the forced fight for the “human” life. What they forget, is ALL life is valuable! Humans need to stop speciesism and focus on the value that ALL life provides!

  41. Jeffrey says on  04/07/2012 at 8:05 pm

    Even canine vets get treated like shit! They all deserve MUCH better, That is NUTS!

  42. Bless this mess dear god

  43. Sean says on  04/07/2012 at 8:06 pm

    So flippin’ horrible.

  44. Sedatemink says on  04/07/2012 at 8:06 pm

    Most prob too traumatised and cant live a normal life anymore Poor dogs :((((

    • MKAhlsen says on  04/09/2012 at 4:43 am

      Police dogs here in the USA are trained to be “vicious” when necessary but generally are retired to their handlers’ homes. Many see horrible things, particularly those working inner cities where violence is rampant. They are exposed to gunfire, fights, riots, drugs, etc. yet they can live out their retirements in the loving homes they deserve. The K-9 handlers I have met would not even consider allowing their canine partners to be put down simply because it is more convenient or cheaper for the department/government and would actually be insulted by the mere suggestion. I had one live a couple of houses down a few years back and saw the respect everyone showed that dog until the day he died. Why can’t the UK military do the same?

  45. Fernanda says on  04/07/2012 at 8:06 pm

    i cant even read it is so disturbing…they are heroes that served their country and shouldl be entittled to find a good home for retirement…im sure many military families like my self woudl give any of these heroes a home


  47. Why are there so many “like”s to this? There is NOTHING to like about this!!!

  48. Sad

  49. Jimmie says on  04/07/2012 at 8:07 pm

    Typical government s**t. Interesting how they ask why we don’t believe/trust them.

  50. Ken says on  04/07/2012 at 8:07 pm

    I’m willing to bet most of these dogss could easily be retired home with their former handlers – then socialised to a civilian footing. Seeems to work (when it is allowed to) for the US

  51. Mike Zona says on  04/07/2012 at 8:08 pm

    thats fucking bullshit!!!!!!

  52. Thats is a Monarchship for you.A bunch of aholes right to the queen a-hole!!

  53. If this is true, shame on them!!!

  54. Yoko says on  04/07/2012 at 8:09 pm

    Very sad… disgusting…

  55. Nasty little buggers..the Brit Gov…hard enough to get a service dog back even in the US…thrilled to see the reunion between the Marine Sgt and HER dog..after 2 YRS of fooling around with red tape .what a waste of time..should have flown the dog to her..!

  56. Janet says on  04/07/2012 at 8:09 pm


  57. Donna says on  04/07/2012 at 8:09 pm

    That sucks:(

  58. It’s a MANS war. But they’ll drag poor animals in to it…

  59. Linda says on  04/07/2012 at 8:10 pm


  60. why is it that human couldnt give such a gratitude to those dogs…they are war heroes too. i wonder why…dogs could give their freewill loyalty…something that not all human could appreciate it :(…so unfair

  61. Chea says on  04/07/2012 at 8:11 pm

    Dear Lord, why?????????

  62. That is so wrong and very sad. What is wrong with these people

  63. That’s tragic.

  64. Adri says on  04/07/2012 at 8:11 pm

    Piece of Sh

  65. Denise says on  04/07/2012 at 8:12 pm

    This is not right.

  66. Sad…just very sad… And oh, so very wrong…

  67. :-(

  68. Rebecca Swartz says on  04/07/2012 at 8:13 pm

    The people who made the decision to do this are a bunch of lazy, shiftless cowards. Those dogs served their country, did what was asked of them, as much as any soldier, and they were rewarded with death. Way to go, British government. Patriotic, my ass.

  69. Sharon says on  04/07/2012 at 8:13 pm

    Oh that is terrible… they do the same to the soldiers! They need to set up a foster care arrangement; I would take one into my home and treat him with the care and respect that is expected from return soldiers…..shame on you!!!

  70. Sara says on  04/07/2012 at 8:13 pm

    This is DISGRACEFUL!!!

  71. This is how a country treats its heroes? This is sickening. Here in the US, I don’t know about military dogs, but police dogs are retired and live the rest of their life with their handlers. Those dogs could have gone to wonderful families who would have loved to have them.

  72. Jennifer says on  04/07/2012 at 8:13 pm

    WTF? Sad commentary on those that do so.

  73. So sad

  74. Wow I so hate that!! As by my pic I am an advocate for rescue dogs….grrrrrr

  75. Adrian says on  04/07/2012 at 8:14 pm

    Bloody disgusting ! can`t see how all these dogs are vicious after spending all their lives working so closely with man , more likely euthanasia is the easiest and cheapest option ! Shame on the UK !

  76. Thats poor example of humanity!

  77. They should be ashamed of themselves grrr makes me so mad.

  78. pathetic…………….

  79. all the f…..g politicians and government people should be euthanized!!!! not the dogs!

  80. wtf???

  81. Aileen says on  04/07/2012 at 8:15 pm

    Maybe the bloody British government need to be euthanized!!!!

  82. Bloody Governments are the same the world over, they could bring the fogs home with their handlers, people are soulless now, no regard for animals

  83. Dogs oops

  84. Jennie says on  04/07/2012 at 8:16 pm

    This is just HEARTBREAKING!!!

  85. DISLIKE!

  86. Kathy says on  04/07/2012 at 8:16 pm

    Outrageous …

  87. That is so wrong and very sad. What is wrong with these people. So very, very sad:(:(

  88. I am absolutely disgusted by this. I am British and not so proud of what i have just read, I am also a very proud dog owner that has just adopted a rescue dog to live aside my other dog and our family, the dog i have adopted has had a previous bad owner, but this is outrageous and bloody disgusting. British Government F***ing stinks at the moment. Makes me sick to the stomach :(

  89. WTF????? grrrrr

  90. Jenny says on  04/07/2012 at 8:17 pm


  91. Marie says on  04/07/2012 at 8:17 pm


  92. Victoria says on  04/07/2012 at 8:19 pm

    this is a total lack of respect for the dogs. I am furious with any country that would do that. Including the US

  93. This is the absolute worst!

  94. Marion says on  04/07/2012 at 8:20 pm

    So dreadfully unfair and thankless to these wonderful canine heroes.

  95. ?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  96. Stephanie says on  04/07/2012 at 8:21 pm

    wow this is beyond f***ed up

  97. Rhoda says on  04/07/2012 at 8:21 pm

    And we trust these people to make decisions about the lives ofour sons and daughters?

  98. Kerry says on  04/07/2012 at 8:21 pm

    very saddened to hear that, these dogs are just as much heros as any human!!!

  99. :'( so sad

  100. Why??

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