Bravery medal for Army dog that took out Al Qaeda sniper
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.
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.
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.