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Save Our Saxon: a campaign to save the life of a brave police dog

The Save Our Saxon (SOS) group is campaigning to save the life of police dog Saxon which is under threat of death from Gwent Police.

Despite loyal and faithful service protecting the people of Gwent over the past three and half years it has been decided that Saxon can no longer be licensed as a police dog. Following extensive research by SOS with retired police dog handlers and experts in this field it has been established that the proposed action by Gwent police is unprecedented. In cases that SOS has reviewed police dogs have been retired from service to live out their natural lives with their handlers. KYE being a recent example of a Gwent Police dog being saved – only by a public outcry from being put to sleep by Gwent Police.

SOS has established that Gwent Police have carried out evaluations into Saxon’s ‘demeanour’ behind closed doors. So far Gwent Police have not released FOI data saying exactly was done during the "assessment", in a strange environment and without his handler being present. PC Mike Townley, Saxon’s handler, has been expressly forbidden to see his dog. Having saved this man’s life, it is our opinion that this is being overtly cruel to PC Townley and his dog.
Saxon has been secretly removed from police kennels to another location so that an unknown ‘well respected expert’ can carry out another "assessment", this time lasting for up to one month. Gwent Police have recently refused to allow an independent evaluation by the world-renowned expert Dr Roger Mugford.

The SOS Group are at a loss to understand why the dog needs to be "assessed" at all as under ACPO guidelines Saxon was retired.

There is significant public concern over the welfare of Saxon. The SOS Group have so far collected over 15,000 signatures from around the world, and indeed from inside Gwent Police, supporting Saxon’s reprieve.

The SOS Group have offered to work with Gwent Police to find a suitable solution to this problem. These offers have been refused.

Captain Bryn Wayt, Chairman of the SOS Group said: "While I clearly understand Gwent police’s concern for public safety I simply cannot comprehend why an example is being made of Saxon when it has done no proven wrong, unlike Princess Anne's dog who was saved from execution in 2002 after it actually bit two children in Windsor Great Park. By the studious assistance of Dr Roger Mugford, before passing sentence the judge told Princess Anne just to keep her dog on a lead in public and not even muzzle it.

"I am very concerned over the processes that Gwent Police have followed and the cloak and dagger ethos surrounding this case and I call upon Chief Constable Mike Tonge QPM to carry out an urgent independent review of the circumstances that led to this appalling situation where they are willing to kill a dog that saved his master's life.

"I would ask in the meantime they allow Saxon to be returned to the secure kennels at his handler's home, where he stayed whilst being an operational Police dog, and let this month long "assessment" be conducted there. The widespread feeling amongst GSD experts is that to receive a fair assessment of the dog's character SAXON should be independently assessed after spending some rehabilitation in his home environment. After all, it has been made perfectly clear Gwent Police do not wish to use this 5 year old GSD any longer - so as in all other cases in Gwent, retire the dog to his handler and let it live out its life in 18.5 acres of Welsh mountain side, well away from the public. What is the problem with that? PC Townley is a trained Police Dog Handler who has won awards for his professionalism and would never endanger the public, never mind his family, having SAXON at home."