Parade marks re-location of
the Defence Animal Centre

THE ANIMALS marched off two by two when they took part in a military parade to commemorate the re-location of the Defence Animal Centre Headquarters at Melton Mowbray, Leicester.

The parade, which included eight mounted horses, 18 dogs and their handlers and around 80 military and civilian staff, marched from the existing Centre at Welby Lane, Melton Mowbray to the new purpose built Headquarters just a short walk away.

The Defence Animal Centre is one of the largest animal training centres in Europe. Its mission is to train dogs, horses and instructors for the Armed Forces, Police, Immigration Service and Customs and Excise.

In one three-month period, Customs & Excise dogs trained at the Centre stopped the smuggling of £9 million of drugs. The security dogs used at the Sydney Olympics were also trained at the Centre.

The new building, situated next to the centre’s Equine School, heralds a dramatic improvement of facilities for the military and civilian staff. Situated on 13 acres of land, the building has a sports complex, single living accommodation for 180 military personnel, catering facilities, a social room, library and education centre.

“This is our first step towards a future of military animal support in the 21st Century,” said the Commandant of the Centre, Colonel Dougie Macdonald, “Buildings may rise and fall, bases may come and go, but the willingness to serve our country and the commitment to our animals remains untouched.”

The new HQ has been built through a Private Finance Initiative with Realm (DAC) and endorses the commitment the Armed Forces has to provide military working animals and personnel in the right place at the right time.

The old site will be knocked down to make way for around 120 new houses.


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