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Police Dog Canto honoured with national bravery award

PD Canto was stabbed while trying to stop a man with a kitchen knife and has been recognised with a PDSA national commendation at an awards evening last night.

Canto was injured during the incident last summer when officers were called to reports of a man at a property armed with a kitchen knife.

PD Canto had arrived at the property with West Mercia Police dog handler PC Emma Worrall when he was injured. PD Canto and PC Emma Worrall Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Image used with permission of PDSA

Emma explained the situation facing the pair inside the home "As soon as we entered the property we were confronted by the man wielding a large kitchen knife. I released my hold on Canto's collar and gave him the command to bite and detain.

"Canto leapt towards the man as commanded, but rather than bite he fell to the floor.

"I was shocked because Canto is an experienced dog and it was unlike him not to carry out my commands."

Although he was hurt, Canto continued to bark at the man, an action which allowed officers armed with tasers to deal with the situation.

"When I checked him I saw that he had blood over his front paws and a huge stab wound across his chest. My hands were covered in Canto's blood. I couldn't believe that he'd been stabbed while trying to do his job.

"As he was able to stand I put him on his lead and ran to my car, shouting to my colleagues what had happened."

Emma drove him to Haygate Veterinary Practice in Wellington, where Canto underwent emergency surgery on the eight-inch wound.

Canto was able to return home with her the following day to begin his recuperation before returning to his force shifts.

Emma added "He is a fantastic dog and is quite experienced in these sorts of situations and when he didn't bite the man I was quite surprised.

"I'm so proud of him. He's amazing and I can't praise him enough. He's a great dog to live and work with, I couldn't have asked for a better dog."

The PDSA's general director Jan McLoughlin said: "PD Canto's story really highlights the vital role that police dog teams play in local policing and demonstrates the perils they can face. I'm honoured to present him with the PDSA Commendation for his actions that night and to celebrate his contribution to our local police force."

The PDSA Commendation is part of the organisation's animal awards programme, which comprises the PDSA Dickin Medal - the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, the PDSA Gold Medal, known as the animals' George Cross, and the PDSA Order of Merit, the animals' OBE.

DCC Amanda Blakeman said "The bravery of our officers and of our dogs has rightly been highlighted and I'm delighted that Canto has fully recovered from his injuries. We never know exactly how an incident will unfold and although in this case Canto was hurt doing his duty, the situation was brought under control with both professionalism and courage. Congratulations Canto for your award."


Issued: 2.20pm, Wednesday 31 January, PR, Corporate Communications

Published 31/01/18