Police dog rejected for jail duty
The future of a police dog whose licence was withdrawn because he was “unsafe” remains uncertain after he was rejected as a prison guard dog.
Gwent Police withdrew the licence for Saxon, a five-year-old German Shepherd earlier this year.
He was assessed by HM Prison Service this week but was found “not suitable as a potential prison patrol dog”.
His ex-handler fears he will be put down but Gwent Police said Saxon’s future remains under consideration.
Saxon’s former handler, Mike Townley, worked with dog between 2003 and 2006 when Saxon’s licence was withdrawn after Saxon bit a kennel worker.
In July, a Gwent Police spokesman said: “The dog concerned made an unprovoked attack on a kennel handler and after careful consideration it was decided that the dog should be humanely put down.”
Saxon was rejected as being unsuitable to work in prisons
He added that a dog’s destruction was only considered if a force believes the dog in question cannot be re-homed, re-deployed or retrained successfully and therefore presents an unacceptable safety risk to the public.
Mr Townley’s wife, Caroline, has said she owed Saxon a debt of gratitude for saving her husband’s life when in the line of duty he was confronted by a man wielding an axe.
After an appeal by the family, Gwent Police offered the dog to the prison service.
But a spokesman for HM Prison Service found Saxon was “not suitable as a potential prison patrol dog”.
Mrs Townley has not commented on the decision.
A spokesman for the Gwent force said: “Gwent Police will now review the situation and explore other options for Saxon’s future.
“He is currently being cared for at police kennels alongside other police dogs receiving the same high standards of care and exercise.”