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Aug 11, 2006
Family fight to keep police dog


Saxon with handler, Mike Townley
Saxon saved Mr Townley's life many times, say the family
A police dog who saved his handler from an axe-wielding attacker has been put on death row at the end of his service, according to the handler's family.
Saxon, a five-year-old German Shepherd, protected Mike Townley, 47, many times during his time with Gwent Police.

His wife, Caroline, say his licence has been withdrawn as he is now considered "unsafe" and could be put down.

She wants to keep Saxon as a pet. Gwent Police said Saxon's future was under consideration.

As a serving police officer, Mr Townley, a Home Office dog instructor, was unable to comment on Gwent Police's decision to retire Saxon from active service.

Two youths came out and wanted to beat my husband up - the dog stood in front of them and wouldn't let them near him
Caroline Townley

However, he has applied to keep Saxon as a pet and a campaign to see the dog released from the police kennels at Usk, Monmouthshire, has been launched by his wife, Caroline.

Mrs Townley said the family owed a debt of gratitude to Saxon, for saving her husband's life on more than one occasion, as well as "feeling hundreds of collars".

She said her husband was told last week that Saxon, who has represented the Gwent force at regional police dog trials, was to be put down and that decision had been confirmed.

Saxon
Saxon has been at police dog kennels for the past three months

She said: " This dog would have laid his life down for my husband. Mike was confronted by a man with an axe, who would have killed Saxon.

"Another time Mike was searching a scrap yard for some people when he fell and broke his ankle. Two youths came out and wanted to beat my husband up.

"The dog stood in front of them and wouldn't let them near him. He gave himself 100%."

She said the force helicopter once filmed Saxon chasing and rounding up four suspects who were on foot.

Mrs Townley said her husband has been told Saxon is unsafe because he bit Mr Townley twice in the first year they worked together.

'Destroyed'

But she said: "He says it was completely his own fault. The dog was being defensive. Mike said Saxon has not bitten anyone unless he has told him to."

Saxon and Mr Townley had worked together since April 2003. Mrs Townley said her husband was "distraught and extremely upset" at the force's conclusions.

Gwent Police said 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.

The statement read: "In the past three years, 11 general purpose patrol dogs have been retired from the Gwent Police Dog Section.

"Of these six either went to live with their ex-handler or were otherwise re-homed. Five were put down humanely to prevent suffering as a result of old age, injury or underlying medical conditions, after consultation with a vet.

"During the same period there has only been one case of a dog being refused a license on grounds of safety.

"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."

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Posted: Aug 11, 2006 2:51pm
Aug 11, 2006
Police dog rejected for jail duty
Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 August 2006, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK  

 
Saxon with handler, Mike Townley
Saxon has worked with Mike Townley since April 2003
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
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."

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Posted: Aug 11, 2006 2:48pm
Jul 14, 2006
 

‘Green police’ bring muscle to battle to protect environment 
Chantelle Benjamin

 

Johannesburg Metro Editor

GOVERNMENT has established a new environmental policing unit with the same investigative and arresting powers as the police.
 

This move will see businesses or individuals who flout environmental legislation brought to book.


New regulations relating to the National Environmental Management Act, which were put in place this year, have given environmental authorities much-needed teeth to fight destruction of the environment by those who plunder natural resources or dump toxic material.


The environmental management inspectors unit has been set up to give the environmental affairs and tourism department the ability to enforce the law. There is an increased chance of arrest and there are heavy penalties.


Gauteng has become the first province to launch its environmental management inspectors unit. Members completed an intensive training course run by the department and the University of Pretoria.


The programme was supported by the environmental agencies of England and Wales as well as the Environmental Protection Agency of the US.


The new unit, succeeding an earlier group known as the Green Scorpions, will have powers of search and seizure, will be able to set up road blocks, issue enforceable compliance notices and carry out routine inspections. Fines of up to R5m can be issued for contraventions.


This gives environmental management teams the capacity to prevent abuse.

Gauteng conservation and environment MEC Khabisi Mosunkutu said yesterday that the unit heralded a new period for environmental management.


“It will convey a positive and firm message to the Gauteng community that they now have a force exclusively dedicated to ensuring no one will, with impunity, degrade the environment and compromise our health.



“The honeymoon for environmental criminals is coming to an end. The (inspection units) are well trained and sufficiently well motivated to deal with (them).”


The units were set up to comply with constitutional obligations. These say South African citizens have a right to a clean environment that is not harmful to their health and wellbeing.

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Posted: Jul 14, 2006 2:28pm

 

 
 
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