Medal for hero British Army dog that took out an Al Qaeda sniper

Who growls wins: Bravery medal for hero British Army dog that took out an Al Qaeda sniper despite being shot and losing his paw

  • Kuno, a Belgian shepherd malinois, was shot several times during the operation
  • But the dog showed extraordinary bravery to still take down the Al Qaeda sniper
  • He suffered severe wounds to both hind legs and received life-saving treatment
  • Kuno is first UK military working dog to be fitted with lightweight prosthetic limb

A heroic Army dog is to receive the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross after he took out an Al Qaeda gunman – allowing special forces to storm the enemy compound.

Kuno, a Belgian shepherd malinois, was shot several times during the operation at the heavily- fortified terrorist base.

But he showed extraordinary bravery to still take down the sniper with a military citation afterwards stating that the dog had ‘changed the course of the attack’.

He suffered severe wounds to both hind legs and received life-saving treatment in a helicopter after the night-time raid. However, the dog’s left rear paw could not be saved.

Kuno has now become the first UK military working dog to be fitted with a pioneering lightweight prosthetic limb, alongside an orthotic brace to support his other injured back leg.

Kuno, a Belgian shepherd malinois, was shot several times during the operation at the heavily- fortified terrorist base

He showed extraordinary bravery to still take down the sniper with a military citation afterwards stating that the dog had ‘changed the course of the attack’

The devices mean the three-year-old can still benefit from full movement and enjoy his regular runs on the beach now he is in retirement.

The dog suffered life-threatening injuries in an operation to storm a Al Qaeda compound in mountainous terrain in April last year.

The citation for Kuno said his bravery in tackling the sniper – who was equipped with night vision equipment – had allowed the assault force to swiftly enter a courtyard after landing by helicopter as grenades detonated around them.

Kuno will be formally presented with his People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) Dickin medal by the veterinary charity in a virtual ceremony in November

They were then able to neutralise the insurgent before clearing the remainder of the building.

It added: ‘Pinned down by grenade and machine-gun fire from an insurgent, the assault force was unable to move without taking casualties.

‘Without hesitation, Kuno charged through a hail of gunfire to tackle the gunman, breaking the deadlock and changing the course of the attack, allowing the mission to be completed successfully.’

Kuno will be formally presented with his People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) Dickin medal by the veterinary charity in a virtual ceremony in November.

The honour is the highest in existence for military animal valour and was introduced by PDSA’s founder, Maria Dickin, in 1943.

Kuno will become the 72nd recipient of the medal, following 34 other dogs, as well as 32 Second World War messenger pigeons, four horses and one cat.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: ‘Without Kuno, the course of this operation could have been very different, and it’s clear he saved the lives of British personnel that day.

‘Kuno’s story reminds us not only of the dedicated service of our soldiers and military dogs, but also the great care that the UK Armed Forces provide to the animals that serve alongside them.’

It is understood the Al Qaeda raid took place in Afghanistan when Kuno was working with the Special Boat Service.

Kuno has now become the first UK military working dog to be fitted with a pioneering lightweight prosthetic limb, alongside an orthotic brace to support his other injured back leg

He had already conducted 16 operations over a five-month period when he was injured.

Kuno required several operations before he could be flown home on an RAF plane for reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation, receiving in-flight care from a Royal Army Veterinary Corps team.

Back in the UK he was transferred to the Defence Animal Training Regiment in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, where he underwent further extensive surgery.

The surgery was overseen by Dick White, one of the world’s leading specialists in canine surgery and special professor of small animal surgery at the University of Nottingham.

Kuno then embarked upon a lengthy programme of rehabilitation to restore function to his nerves and muscles – just as any other injured service personnel would. Within a few months he was strong enough to be fitted with his bespoke prosthetic.

Some 11,000 canines work in the Armed Forces doing everything from sniffing out drugs to attacking enemy combatants – just as Kuno did.

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